iPad Rumor Round-Up: SD Cards Again, Display Connector, Dual-Core Graphics, Super-High-Res Screen?

Leaked iPad 2 case

Apple's iPad 2 must surely be imminent: The rumor mill is spinning so fast that new nuggets are flying out of it seemingly every hour or so. We've gathered the latest and greatest for you.

Last week's rumors suggested we may be looking at some advanced photo apps inside the iPad 2, and it may lose its physical home button and gain gesture controls. What can we add now?

SD card slot again?

Rumors that the iPad 2 will borrow some thinking from the iMac and MacBooks and adopt an SD card slot for storage expansion have come and gone, but now they're back with a vengeance, thanks to some new "leaked" iPad 2 protective cases from Chinese manufacturers.

The latest crop of cases seem to have a new slot, on the top left of the left-hand side of device if held in portrait mode, on the other side to the volume rockers. The size and arrangement of the slot would seem perfect for a standard SD card. And adding such a facility would let Apple easily and quickly boost the storage capacity of the iPad without adding in more expensive solid-state memory (which could force a price bump) ... so we almost believe this is accurate.

Mini DisplayPort slot?

These cases have also shown a new port at the top-center edge of the iPad 2--in a location we've seen ports in these leaked cases previously. But this time the case makers seem to have a more precise sense of the size this port needs to be, and some commenters have noticed it's entirely possible it's a mini DisplayPort connector. This is a display connections standard Apple's been pushing on its range of Mac computers, and it would make sense for Apple to make it easier for its slate PC to more easily connect to projectors and TV monitors--the device is, after all, selling very well in enterprise channels.

Screen at four times the current resolution?

This is the hottest rumor that's popped up. Hidden in files within a developer release of a future version of iOS that'll go into the iPhone and iPad are a number of graphics files that suggest the iPad 2 will have four times as many pixels on its display than currently. This means it'll have a 2048 by 1536 pixel screen.

This makes great technical sense: Doubling the pixel count in both directions means it's easy for "old" iPad apps to work on the new screen, you simply need to run them at double size (no need for tricky code re-working). A higher resolution screen will add some pizazz to the iPad 2 that'll make it compete with some Android tablets that sport greater pixel density, and allow for truly mind-blowing graphics in 3-D games. AppleInsider has thought long and hard about the matter, and is even explaining how it'll benefit the user experience of the iPad from a UI point of view.

Dual-core graphics

The iPad gaining more processing power is a persistent rumor, and one we've covered before, but now there's a very specific hint that Apple's upgrading the graphics power of the PowerVR chip that controls the iPad's display. Rumors are hinting that a new SGX543 chip will be found inside, sporting dual processor cores--enough to give the iPad the necessary beef to drive its new larger display, and to run significantly more sophisticated graphics games.

Vibrator

Finally there's one hint from a parts supplier that the iPad 2 will gain a vibromotor for haptic feedback, like its iPhone cousin. Not big news, and certainly a plausible evolutionary step, but app designers will certainly pay attention to it.

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.

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