What to expect in the iPad 2: perhaps even a white model?

Apple’s iPad 2 event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, and the rumors are flying in at a furious pace. The latest is that the iPad 2 might come in white, as well as black, which probably means it won’t come in a “hard to make white work well” design as with the iPhone 5, which has seen months (and months) of delay for the white version.

A purported iPad 2 part landed on in the hands of 9 to 5 Mac on Monday, Feb. 28. The site received a white bezel from iFixYouri, a site that repairs iDevices, and that has also worked with 9 to 5 Mac in the past.

Also lending credence to the part is that the piece reportedly comes from Shenzhen, the home of the Foxconn facility that manufactures a number of iDevices for Apple. It also includes a small hole which would most likely be for the almost-certain-to-appear front-facing camera, an upgrade from the iPad to the iPad 2 that most (honestly, everyone) are expecting. The position of the hole also aligns with leaked screen protectors.

Giving credence to the white iPad 2 rumor is the fact that the piece includes a small hole for what will presumably be a front-facing camera — a feature long thought to be included in the next-gen iPad. As 9to5Mac points out, the hole also matches up with leaked iPad 2 screen protectors that have also come out of Asia.

In fact, Apple has, since introducing FaceTime with the iPhone 4, stated it wanted all its products to sport the video chat feature, so the odds of a front-facing camera on the iPad 2 are about as close to 100 percent as you can get.

As noted, Apple has had its struggles with the white iPhone 4. However, that device has a unique glass design that is rumored to be the issue in the white version. It’s unlikely the iPad 2 will share that design.

The new part also has a slightly slimmer bezel, which fits with the rumors that have been going around for some time. It will likely maintain the same screen size (9.7 inches) and the same resolution (1024 x 768), as Apple won’t be going to a retina display with the iPad 2, most believe. That said, there’s no way they will stand pat; the iPad 2 will have some sort of screen improvements, perhaps to fire back at the Kindle’s ability (and ads) that note its superior outdoor reading capability.

Additionally, the iPad is guaranteed to a dual-core processor to keep up with the competition. It will also most likely get a RAM increase, to at least 512MB.

The iPad 2 might even include the recently released Thunderbolt I/O technology (nee Intel’s Light Peak). Some early case prototypes for the iPad 2 showed an opening for a port that’s too small to be a USB port, and it was originally suspected to be for a Mini DisplayPort. Since Apple has made Thunderbolt compatible with Mini DisplayPort as part of its Light Peak implementation, that might be what is going to show up there.

Thunderbolt provides 10Gbps transmission rates, with Intel saying when it goes to fiber optic cable instead of copper it could reach 100Gbps. The 10Gbps rate is already twice that of USB 3.0.

The iPad 2 will probably be slightly lighter (one of the early complaints was that weight made it unwieldly as an e-book reader in bed), but although recent rumors have swirled around a possible carbon-fiber case, but that’s probably unlikely, most believe.

Although Apple is likely to ship the iPad 2 with iOS 4.3 (as we know they have been shipping beta versions to developers), it’s also possible that the iPad 2 event will include a preview of iOS 5 (which will probably ship for the iPhone refresh in the summer, given Apple’s past history).

One final note is that an image of an iPad 2 showed up earlier, but it’s now believed to a fan-based creation, not an actual image of the iPad 2.

Is that enough speculation? The iPad 2 excitement is ramping up, and will likely reach a fever pitch by tomorrow night, with the event at 10AM Wednesday morning (PST).

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