updated 12:05 am EDT, Thu November 3, 2011
Apple said remaking whole line with two new iPads
Apple may be engineering sweeping changes to its device line in 2012 that could be headlined by more than one iPad design. A questionable rumor from Digitimes had the expected March 2012 iPad revamp being just a slimmer, longer-lasting iPad 2 that would start small, early shipments in the fall. The "real" iPad 3 wouldn't arrive until summer 2012 at best, the sources claimed.
An additional claim had two iPad prototypes, J1 and J2, geting early displays and LED backlighting. Two million would be made by the end of 2011, with TPK supplying touchscreen panels in November before Wintek followed up in December.
The remaining overhauls would include at least the iMac, iPhone, and MacBook Air, though it's implied the iMac, MacBook Pro, and others would be changed substantially as well. Nothing was mentioned of their details other than that the iPhone and iMac might have to wait until the second half of 2012.
While Digitimes is sometimes accurate, the iPad strategy would be questionable given Apple's strategy. In 2011, it still followed its strategy of updating each iOS device only once a year. Talk of a second 2011 iPad update from multiple sites never panned out. A conservative update in March would also let more radical updates expected from Samsung, HTC, and others in early 2012 also get an early edge. Most other rumors, even from the same site, have alluded to 2048x1536 displays being ready for a new iPad in early 2012 that would cast doubt on a modest update.
Apple was already known to be planning at least a few major revisions of its lineup for 2012 regardless of the rumors. It has entered into a pattern of major and minor external updates for the iPhone and is due to produce a more obvious change after introducing the iPhone 4S this year. Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processors, due in or near March, should help with any computer redesigns by using a much smaller, cooler-running 22-nanometer manufacturing process that will allow higher clock speeds, more cores in each processor, and slimmer designs.