The Wall Street Journal has an uncanny knack for getting Apple rumors right (said people familiar with the matter). Perhaps that’s because these aren’t actually leaks. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that Apple and the WSJ have a cozy relationship, enabling Apple to get its message out in a controlled fashion to a broad audience while reinforcing the WSJ’s leadership position (and kindly driving site traffic). Nothing wrong with that — exclusives and the fuzzy line between press and PR actually pre-dates us bloggers.
So when the WSJ declares that the iPad 2 is in production, via an article published after the stock market closed so both parties avoid the appearance any possible SEC impropriety, you can take it to the bank.
Apple’s obviously not ready for the big reveal, but there are some compelling reasons to get the word out now. Namely, HP is holding an event today where they’re expected to unveil a webOS tablet. This leak pretty effectively steals some of their thunder and alerts potential customers to hold out a bit longer. Additionally, the 10″ Motorola Xoom Android tablet is launching on Verizon in the next week or so. And why those “people familiar with the matter” had the WSJ mention the next generation iPad will include a Verizon connectivity option (in addition to extending their AT&T relationship). Lastly, Apple hopes to reign in expectations by informing the WSJ that the iPad 2 houses a screen of similar resolution to the existing model. As in: there will be no iPad “retina display” in 2011.
As for me, while I haven’t bought into the first generation iOS tablet, I fully intend to pick up its successor. I’m looking forward to the lighter weight, faster processor, additional memory… and hopefully more connectivity/accessory options of the iPad 2. Not only will it replace my Kindle, I expect it to serve as my kitchen television given quickly expanding video streaming options. Perhaps an accompanying software upgrade (iOS 5?) will also make the iPad more suitable for mobile blogging. We shall see… (in March or April).