iPad 2 launch 'one more thing' could be Apple's new social app

Apple's iPad 2 is just hours away from its formal unveiling, with the tech specs fairly well-known. But Apple wouldn't be Apple if it didn't have a surprise or two up its sleeves...

Apple's iPad 2 is just hours away from its formal unveiling, with the tech specs fairly well-known: slimmer, faster processor, camera (or cameras) and a new speaker grille. But Apple wouldn't be Apple if it didn't have a surprise or two up its sleeves.

Today, there's new speculation that the 'one more thing' moment at tonight's launch could be a social-networking service. Apple launching its own Facebook? Not quite. Business Insider's story is about as caveat-ridden as you can get, based on a single industry source, so bear that in mind.

"Specifically, our source speculates that the app could have some sort of media-sharing and location-sharing features. Maybe photo sharing," explains the piece.

"It could be part of Ping, it could replace Ping, it could be part of MobileMe (which may go free), or it could be separate -- our source isn't sure. But this person says that if there is a surprise at the event, this could be it."

We're backing the MobileMe suggestion, based on last week's news that Apple has stopped selling the $99 single licence for its cloud service in the US. That followed separate speculation last month that MobileMe was to be revamped as "every location-based service you can think of mashed up into one -- and built into iOS".

Add in the rumoured ability to upload your music, videos and photos to the cloud and access them from any device, and the new MobileMe -- if announced tonight -- could even outshine the new iPad hardware. That may not be so hard, mind. On the eve of the launch, the ' iPad 3 to come out this year ' rumour has kicked off again.

Cult of Mac quotes an unnamed "Apple staffer" saying this: "For the iPad 2 don't get your hopes up too high. That's all I'm going to say. They've had a number of problems along the way, and the third-generation iPad is the one to make a song and a dance about."

That source also backs up the MobileMe relaunch rumour, suggesting that it could act as a locker for music, films and TV shows bought on Apple's iTunes Store. Anyway, by tonight we'll know for sure, as well as finding out if iPad 2 really will be on sale this week.

 

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