Tech Industry

iPad 2 design rumored to bring ergonomic tweaks

The next-gen iPad is rumored to be getting design changes that bring a flat back and a bigger speaker in a different place. Both could change how users hold and work with the device.

Joe Aimonetti/CNET

The next major version of the iPad is said to bring some slight design changes that could impact how users interact with the device both in their hands and on flat surfaces.

AppleInsider links to Japanese Mac blog MacOtakara, which is reporting that the next version of the iPad is getting a flat back to match that of the most recent iPod Touch, as well as a slight change in dimensions, cutting a reported 3mm off the length and width while retaining an identically sized screen.

In other words, the next iPad could have a smaller bezel--the black area around the screen, and it won't teeter-totter or slide around when you press on something along the edges.

MacOtakara says a more substantial change to the exterior will be the location of the speaker, which could be moved from the side of the unit to the back. Presumably, this could keep someone who is holding the device in either portrait or landscape mode less of a chance of blocking the speaker holes. MacOtakara also says this speaker would be wide range, which could offer more evenly distributed audio at off-angle viewing.

One other small tweak MacOtakara is reporting is a change in the location to the iPad's ambient light sensor, which is moving from the front of the unit to the back. This would be a fairly large departure in location given where Apple keeps it on the current iPad, as well as on iPhones, iPods, iMacs, and its MacBook Pro and Air lines.

MacOtakara also weighs in on the longstanding rumor that the next iPad will gain dual cameras and support for Apple's FaceTime video chat service, saying only that it's a possibility.

These small tidbits join a slew of other rumored second-generation iPad details including dual support for GSM and CDMA, cameras that match the ones found in the iPhone 4, availability in time for Christmas (we can go ahead and cross that one of the list).

In addition, an analyst report from this morning says the yet-to-be-announced device will be packing a dual-core processor.