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iPad 2 with video-calling tipped for April release... by Elton John

Elton John claims to be a Luddite when it comes to gadgets, but he says he's buying a 'Skype iPad' this April so he can video-call his new son. Mere speculation, or does he know something we don't?

iPad 2 speculation is normally the province of bloggers and journalists like us, rather than sextuagenarian pop stars. Sir Elton John has blurred the boundaries, however, predicting an April launch date for Apple's new tablet in a series of interviews to promote his new movie project Gnomeo and Juliet.

We're not kidding you. This morning, we were making toast with BBC Breakfast on in the background, and overheard snatches of an Elton interview where he talked about not liking gadgets, but also about plans to get an iPad in April for video-calling his new son Zachary.

A spot of Internet research later, and it turns out he'd said exactly the same thing before in an interview with the Telegraph last week. "I'm a Luddite. I don't have a phone, I don't have a computer, I don't have an iPad and I don't have an iPod. But this is going to be a problem for me because they're coming out with a Skype iPad in April and I've got to get one because I want to see my son when I'm not there -- I'll have to enter the world of technology."

A Skype iPad? That'll be the widely anticipated second-generation version of Apple's tablet, toting front and rear cameras presumably.

Our main question is whether Elton has merely been reading the same blogosphere speculation as us (or, more accurately given his comments, whether someone who's on his payroll to read blogosphere speculation has been telling him about the iPad 2 rumours). Or does Elton have inside info about the device's launch date?

Okay, probably the former. Perhaps Apple will give John and partner David Furnish a pair ahead of the launch.

There is some non-celebrity iPad 2 speculation to report on this morning too. iLounge reports the second-gen tablet may use a new body material -- more similar to carbon fibre than aluminium. Its source also suggests that a range of NFC accessories are being developed by Apple, bolstering previous rumours that the iPad 2 and iPhone 5 will use near-field communications technology.

The story also says Apple may have revived plans for a smaller iPad with a 7-inch screen, despite the company's execs having repeatedly criticised smaller tablets such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab.