Last-minute iPad 2 rumors

Apple is about 47 hours out from (probably) announcing the iPad 2, so it’s time for the Internet to go all-out and get its last-minute rumors planted. We’re seeing quite a few — chief among them, that there’s going to be a white iPad 2.

An iOS device repair shop in Shenzen City, Guangdong, China, is reportedly the source of an image showing a standard-looking iPad part, except sporting a white finish rather than a black one. It’s the piece known as the “digitizer” or “bezel” that borders the screen — the section of the iPad into which holes have been cut for the Home button and forward-facing camera, according to 9to5 Mac, who received the image.

White iOS devices, for some reason, are big news among the tech blogs, and rumors and images of white front parts for Apple’s next generation iPad are making the rounds in serious numbers. White has been slated for the iPhone 4 since its release, and it makes for good random posts when a listing pops up at a retailer. But obviously, the white iPhone 4 is still as mythical as a unicorn, and slightly more rare. It would make sense that Apple would go with the white option since at least the tech writers are excited about it, and if they all bought one, that’d still be a pretty big market.

Much more interesting than the white iPad 2 is when you might be able to buy it, which could be almost immediately after Wednesday, according to a report at Apple Insider. That’s at odds with lots of other media outlets, who have called into question whether Apple is ready to support a full product roll-out if it announces another iPad Wednesday. But Apple Insider trusts its anonymous sources and has some sound logic to back them up.

The report mentions that Apple’s quarter-to-quarter business is now almost 20 percent iPad, and to announce a new iPad without having one for people to go buy for a month would essentially ground all sales of current iPad inventory — which could cost Apple billions. That seems like a really bad idea, right? Apple Insider says yes, and it breaks down the three reported iPad 2 iterations into their expected ship amounts: 1.9 million of a Wi-Fi only model, 2.3 million of a 3G GSM (AT&T-compatible) model, and 0.8 million of a 3G CDMA (Verizon-compatible) model.

But wait, that creates another contradiction, because we’ve been hearing the iPad 2 will include both CDMA and GSM capabilities — right?

Over at Engadget, they’re finally saying what we’ve been hearing for a while — that the iPad 2 won’t be receiving that fabled SD card slot, nor will it have a higher resolution display. These are things we’ve already been hearing, so it’s not exactly new; but Engadget getting similar information to everyone else goes toward all the stories beginning to align, and that makes it seem as though the things we’re pretty sure we know about the iPad 2 aren’t contradicted as much.

Engadget also speculates that Wednesday’s announcement will showcase a new upgrade of the iOS operating system, which they speculate will be iOS 5. That could be pretty exciting, as the last couple of iOS 4 variations included a lot of cool new features, like AirPrint.

Obviously, take all this stuff with a very large grain of salt. A lot of “information” about the iPad 2 sounds reasonable, and more of it has been reported by multiple outlets and therefore seems to carry some kind of truth, but even now rumors contradict each other and outlets are only starting to fall in line with each other. The only thing worth betting on is that the iPad 2 will be thinner and have a backward-facing camera, as some supposed mock-ups from Japanese blog iBlackBox suggest. And those photos look just like those of the apparently leaked iPad 2 back at CES 2011.

We’ll let you know what the real deal is on Wednesday, when we get to San Francisco to get the dirt first-hand from Apple.

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