iPad 2 Said to Now Be In Production; Here’s Why I Believe It

The Wall Street Journal (s nws) is reporting Apple has begun production on the iPad 2, according to “people familiar with the matter.” The next-generation tablet from Apple (s aapl) will be thinner and lighter, with a faster processor, more memory and a better graphics processor, according to the source.

Keeping track of iPad rumors is tough, but there are a few sources that are almost always worth paying attention to. One of those is the Journal, where Apple has been known to intentionally leak advance product information in the past. In fact, immediately preceding the announcement of the first iPad, the WSJ ran an article confirming the device’s existence and promising a January announcement and March release (this ended up falling in early April, but late March could’ve been the original target). Following that announcement, former Apple marketing manager John Martellaro wrote that such articles were often examples of “controlled leaks” employed by Apple to intentionally bolster interest in its upcoming products. Martellaro said that Apple will contact “trusted friend[s]” at major news outlets. The WSJ article announcing the original iPad’s existence was co-written by Yukari Iwatani Kane, as was the one published today discussing the iPad 2.

This definitely feels like an intentional leak, since it’s light on details, busts some of the loftier expectations floating around (no high-res display or Sprint(s s)/T-Mobile compatibility) and mainly re-treads established anticipated features (front-facing camera for FaceTime). It also doesn’t mention any specific dates or timeline for release, but if Apple is beginning production now, a March or April release is most likely, which is in keeping with a one-year update cycle and existing rumors.

One thing that’s conspicuously absent from the WSJ’s description of the iPad 2 is a rear-facing camera. Maybe Apple is of the opinion that it isn’t much use on a 10-inch tablet. What do you think? Would a single, front-facing camera on the iPad 2 disappoint?

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