The iPad 2 has started rolling off production lines in advance of a debut in the next couple of months. That's according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, which also confirms previous speculation that Apple's second-generation tablet will be slimmer and lighter than the first model.
The story -- co-written by Yukari Iwatani Kane, who has the reputation of being Apple's favoured journalist for 'planned' product leaks -- also claims that the iPad 2 will have more grunt, citing "people familiar with the matter".
"The new iPad will be thinner and lighter than the first model, these people said. It will have at least one camera on the front of the device for features like video-conferencing, but the resolution of the display will be similar to the first iPad, these people said. It will also have more memory and a more powerful graphics processor, they said."
There are no new details on the likely launch date for the iPad 2 beyond the 'next couple of months' rumour, but the WSJ suggests the new tablet will cost around the same as the current model. There's no mention of NFC technology for touch payments, nor is there confirmation of the rumour that the display will have anti-reflection technology, even if it doesn't have a higher resolution.
The mention of "at least one camera" raises the prospect there will not be an additional rear-facing camera on the iPad 2. The front-facing cam has been taken as a given for months, and that expectation was bolstered last week when a Reuters staffer allegedly spotted an iPad 2 at the launch of news app The Daily in New York.
Even celebrities like Sir Elton John are assuming that the new tablet will be capable of making video calls, even if he veered off-message by mentioning Skype rather than Apple's own FaceTime.
Talking of which... European site iPadevice claims to have stripped out the official iPad FaceTime app from the latest beta build of Apple's iOS 4.3 software, and got it running on a first-generation iPad. Useless, given the lack of a camera, but seemingly a sign that FaceTime is ready to roll when iPad 2 goes on sale.
Here's their video, although we're assuming the AC/DC soundtrack is the blogger's own, and not a feature of iPad 2 FaceTime calls. Although you never know...