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iPad 2: Carbon Fiber, NFC Features, 7-inch Model?

A report posted by iLounge details some of the new features and tech specs that may go into the next-generation iPad. First off, the website reports a 7-inch model of the device is still being tested by Apple, in spite of Steve Jobs claiming that 7-inch tablets will be “dead in arrival” because of their form factor, not suitable for portable computing.

Our source notes that a key iPad, iPhone, and iPod component provider has been asked by Apple to develop a part for use in a seven-inch iPad. Our source believes that this part is for a new version of the device that is still in development, and doesn’t know whether it will go into production.

The fact that Apple is still considering the idea of a smaller iPad sounds reasonable, but it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see a 7-inch iPad by the rumored April launch. iLounge goes on to report the iPad 2 may have a new shell in carbon fiber to reduce weight:

While our source urges caution on this point, it’s possible that the company will use a new material similar to carbon fiber rather than aluminum for upcoming iPads.

Some people claim carbon fiber enclosures for the iPad have already been spotted, although it’s unclear whether they came from OEM, or unauthorized third-party manufacturers. Last, the most interesting tidbit is about the iPad 2 and Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities:

In the most basic implementation, an accessory could announce its presence and potential functions to an iPad or iPhone without the need for a Bluetooth or similar connection; our source suggests that an otherwise simple case could include a radio chip so that an inserted iPhone or iPad could go into power-saving hibernation mode automatically. More complex accessories will go far beyond that.

Several reports in the past suggested Apple is willing to implement NFC in future iOS devices.  [via MacRumors]

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