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Is Apple Unveiling Two New Versions of The iPad in January?

by Emily Price | December 29, 2011December 29, 2011 7:30 am PST

iPad 2Could Apple be planning to announce two new iPads in January?

According to DigiTimes, sources at Apple’s supply chain partners claim that Apple will be releasing two new versions of the iPad to be sold alongside the existing iPad 2. The two new tablets would be announced at iWorld which is scheduled for January 26, 2012, and the three tablet models would represent an entry-level, mid-range and high-end variety, with the existing iPad 2 being the low-end of that spectrum.

“The iPad 2 will be competing directly with Amazon’s Kindle Fire in the price-sensitive market segment, while the new models will focus on the mid-range and high-end segments respectively, the sources said.”

All three tablets will reportedly have 9.7-inch screens with QXGA resolution (1,536×2,048 pixels) and dual-light bars to brighten the screens. The A5 processor would be replaced with a quad-core A6 model, and the tablets would get new higher-capacity batteries allowing them to run for twice the time as the current iPad 2. The high-end of the spectrum would have an 8-megapixel camera, while the mid-range iPad would sport a 5-megapixel shooter. The camera resolution appears to be the only difference between those two devices.

This rumor almost had me until it mentions the iPad 2 being the low-end of the iPad offerings, and the direct competition with the Kindle Fire. Anyone who has spent a little time with the Kindle Fire and the iPad 2 knows that they are both very different devices. Releasing a low-cost iPad to compete with the Fire makes sense. Turning the iPad 2 into the Kindle Fire’s competition? Unless Apple drops the price down to $199 in the process seems a little unlikely – and the chances of the iPad 2 as we all know it being sold for $199 are pretty slim.

Three iPad models would also go against how Apple typically does business. Part of what make the iPad such an easy sell is that there’s essentially just one model out there, save choosing your storage size, and whether you want a Wi-Fi or 3G model. Selling three iPads that could be differentiated by low-, middle, and high-class? Doesn’t seem likely.

What do you think? Will we see two new version of the iPad in January?

[via DigiTimes]

Emily Price

Emily has been obsessed with computers since the early 80s when she discovered she could play Ghostbusters on her father's Commodore 64. She...