Don’t Worry – Apple’s Already Got Parts Suppliers for the iPad 2

Apple’s follow up to its insanely successful iPad tablet could be a lot closer than we all thought. According to Digitimes sources, three suppliers for the printed circuit boards (PCBs) in the iPad 2 have already been named and the device will start shipping in February when four more suppliers will be added to keep up with demand. Apple has not yet announced the iPad 2 but the company is methodical and predictable with its product releases and a new iPad is almost assured for release in early 2011.

By the time the iPad 2 comes out, Apple will finally start having some serious competition in a market that it has managed to completely dominate in less than a year. Personally, I have started seeing iPads in use on a daily basis and a conspicuous lack of any other tablets around (unless you count Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader). The sales numbers back up my observations. Apple had 95% of the tablet market as of the end of the September according to a report by market research firm Strategy Analytics.

While the BlackBerry PlayBook, Samsung Galaxy Tab and other tablet competitors are sure to eat into Apple’s tablet dominance, Apple is expected to keep a strong lead well until 2015 when Android based tablets are finally expected to reach a market share of 28.4% according to IMS Research. Of course, Dell’s PalmPad tablet will come out next year running webOS 2.0 and Microsoft certainly has plans of its own in the tablet sector. While anyone could come out ahead in the future, for the time being, the iPad is king.

Nothing is for certain yet, but the next iPad is expected to have front and rear facing cameras. A RAM update to at least 512 MB to match the iPhone 4 is expected, as is a processor upgrade. Apple might even put both CDMA and GSM cellular radios in them so that other carriers besides AT&T can provide data plans. One big question is if Apple will make the leap to a dual-core processor like the PlayBook runs. Dual-core mobile chips like the Tegra 2 are hitting smartphones and tablets now. Will Apple make the leap or does it think single core processors are still the way to go?

Let me know if you think the iPad really will hit stores in February or if we will have to wait until later in the year. Also, are you holding out on buying an iPad because you want the FaceTime camera that should be in the iPad 2?

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