Apple will unveil two iPad models at a conference in January, according to Taiwanese publication DigiTimes.
"Apple is set to unveil its next-generation iPad--which will come in two versions--at the MacWorld/iWorld expo scheduled for January 26, 2012," read the Dec. 29 report, citing unnamed supply-chain sources. "The new models will join the existing iPad 2 to demonstrate Apple's complete iPad series targeting the entry-level, mid-range and high-end market segments."
A low-priced iPad 2 will reportedly aim to compete head to head against Amazon's Kindle Fire, a 7-inch tablet that acts as a portable vending machine for the online retailer's e-books and streaming content. Meanwhile, according to the report, the new iPads will feature high-resolution screens and "dual-LED light bars" to "strengthen the brightness of the panels."
Over the next few quarters, a variety of competitors including the Motorola Xoom and Hewlett-Packard s TouchPad suffered from anemic sales, seemingly solidifying Apple's lead in the short term. However, the competition is unlikely to abate in 2012. Microsoft and its manufacturing partners are prepping a series of tablets running the upcoming Windows 8, which will make a hard play for PC power users and businesses. In addition, competitors like Samsung are still very much in the tablet fight. Whatever Apple decides to release next year, it will continue to face a crowded marketplace.