Apple iPad 2 rumours: round 2

Another day... another batch of highly speculative and utterly unfounded next-generation iPad rumours.

We'll start at the very beginning with those Taiwanese dumpster-diggers at Digitimes. The occasionally-accurate industry watcher reckons that Japanese outfit Ibiden, Taiwan-based Tripod Technology and Sino-American TTM technologies have all been given the nod as PCB suppliers for the Second Coming of the Apple iPad.

Rumour has it that a further four suppliers will join the roster 'some time in February' and that the as-yet-unannounced iPad 2 will see the light of day in the first quarter of 2011.

Next up is an investor note from Brian Blair of Wedge partners which predicts that the next iteration of Apple's ground-breaking tablet will go globe-trotting with a Qualcomm multi-mode CDMA-GSM cellular chip which could allow it to switch between different network technologies both in the US of A and further afield.

Blair also chucked a big chunk of conjecture about forward-facing cameras based on Steve Jobs' ambitious predictions for FaceTime, and mentioned the possibilty that the iPad 2 would move to an aluminium unibody design like much of the current MacBook range.

The fact that many limp-wristed iPad detractors think the 10-inch gadget is too heavy, and in light of a recent patent unearthed by Apple Insider, we'd like to think that Johnny Ive is beavering away on a super-light carbon-fibre-backed version.

There's no doubt that Apple will keep its eye on the ball as the impending avalanche of iPad clones crashes into stores in the run-up to Christmas, but as it already holds an estimated 95 per cent of the tablet market, the only certainty here is that no-one will know what Apple's plans are until Steve Jobs walks the walk and talks the talk.

Everything else is just cobblers.