Dispatches From the Supply Line Stoke iPad, iPhone Chatter
With the first-year anniversaries of the iPad and iPhone 4 fast approaching, and both devices destined for an update per Apple’s annual mobile device refresh cycle, the Apple rumor mill is undergoing a refresh of its own.
Supply chain sources tell China’s Economic Daily News that Apple has lined up four new component suppliers for the iPhone 5, which they claim is scheduled for a summer launch. Meanwhile, Taiwanese trade pub DigiTimes is reporting that Apple recently bolstered its printed circuit board (PCB) supply chain in preparation for the next iteration of the iPad. Where the company once used just three PCB suppliers for the device, it’s now using seven. Not a surprise, really, given the 14.8 million iPads Apple sold in 2010. DigiTimes’ sources claim they’re scheduled to begin small-volume shipments next month, before going all out in April. Which jibes nicely with that annual refresh cycle I mentioned earlier and rumors of a spring launch.
As I’ve noted here before, the iPad 2 is expected to be thinner than its predecessor and manufactured with the same unibody approach Apple’s been using for the MacBook. It’s also expected to feature an LCD backlit display, a front-facing camera and Facetime video chat support. Finally, some reports suggest it is powered by one of Qualcomm’s multimode chips and will run on both GSM and CDMA-based networks around the world.