iPad 2 officially launching on March 2, but delay rumours persist

iPad 2 officially launching on March 2, but delay rumours persistSo the rumours were right. Well, some of them anyway. Turns out stories claiming the iPad 2 will launch next Wednesday, March 2, were bang on the money, with Apple having sent out the all-important invites for the launch event.

And as we were expecting, it's San Francisco that will host the grand unveiling, with the BBC Television Centre in London having been lined up for the UK mirror event. So you'd think all those rumours about production delays would now be a thing of the past, no? Sadly, you'd be wrong.

The invitation itself is the usual Apple attempt at mixing the obvious and the cryptic, with an iOS calendar icon showing the date of March 2 peeling away in the top-right hand corner to reveal a device screen underneath.

Of course, that screen is obviously the iPad 2's, and the image is captioned “Come see what 2011 will be the year of.” Not too much by way the cryptic, on second thoughts. Unless we've missed something, that is.

By now we know a fair bit of the hardware spec we're likely to be getting too. There's no doubt the second iPad will be slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, and will have forward and rear-facing cameras for some FaceTime action.

We're less sure about the screen details, though the most outlandish speculation has largely been quietened and we're largely just expecting a slight boost to the current display's performance and a repeat of its VGA resolution.

And it's that display that continues to generate rumours that there are issues threatening the iPad 2's production schedule – despite the seemingly rosy picture suggested by next week's launch event.

Our favourite Taiwanese rumour-monger DigiTimes is once again at the heart of the speculation. The tech industry paper claims display panel shortages and 11th hour spec changes have led to the expected first quarter production figure of around 600,000 being cut by as much as half.

DigiTimes does add that the original second quarter on-sale date should still be met – most likely April – but it inevitably means stocks might be in short supply early on.

Of course, the obvious response from Apple would be to hold back the iPad 2's international release and favour US orders until production has hit full speed. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

And one last thought: is it just us thinking that last-minute spec changes and display panel shortages combined could mean Apple has rethought its screen strategy for the tablet and might have a bit of a surprise up its sleeve next Wednesday?

Read more about: Apple iPad 2iOS

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