iOS 4.3 beta reveals iPad 2 secrets

The latest beta version of Apple's mobile operating system has offered up some useful information related to the forthcoming iPad 2.

Mac blogger Chris Galzerano has had a tinker about in the innards of the developer release and believes he has unearthed some clues about the much-predicted iPad 2's technical specifications.

Most of the discoveries have already been widely predicted by anyone with even a passing interested in Apple's proddable PC, but seeing viable evidence in black and white from a confirmed Apple source can only add credence to the conjecture.

Galzerano says he decided to download the beta and have a dig about in its innards after reports suggested that the next iteration of the iPad would sport a pathetic one megapixel camera, something which raised a few eyebrows throughout the tech world.

"I browsed just about every folder and folder inside of the previous folder. The first thing I noticed was in the sounds folder in the system folder. In the sounds folder, there are multiple camera related caf files for recording video and taking pictures."

The sound files include one for a still photo shutter click, and two others to indicated the beginning and end of a video recording.

Chris also found listings for three distinct iPad 2 models - iPad2,1, iPad2,2 and iPad2,3 - which he sensibly surmises could be the Wi-Fi, GSM and CDMA variants.

He also unearthed carrier bundles for a large number of mobile services around the world including O2, Vodafone and T-Mobile, which bodes well for anyone worried that Apple might restrict the initial shipments of the gadget to a single provider.

Inside the Core services folder, Galzerano also spotted a file called K48AP.plist which suggested that the iPad 2 would feature HD 720p video playback or recording, a magnometer like the iPhone 4, and a DisplayPort connection allowing it to be hooked up to an external monitor or TV.

A rummage in the AV Foundation framework turned up references to video capturing and encoding which Galzerano suggests point to front and rear-facing cameras as well as video capture in VGA, iFrame and 720p formats.

Getting back to the iOS developer's original reason fro carrying out the in-depth investigation in the first place, those multiple reports that the iPad 2 would have a weedy 1MP camera, Galzerano finally discovered the 'proof' he was looking for buried deep within the thousands of Plist files.

"After digging deeper into plist files, I discovered that the 20 other news sources that said the iPad would have a 1MP back camera were wrong," he crows. "Here’s why: In the framework 'AVFoundation.framework' a file called 'DefaultModel.plist' would show which of the four strangely-named folders with camera-related plist files would go with the iPad 2’s firmware.

"The string value in that plist file was 'N88'. I went into the N88 folder and opened the 'AVCaptureSession.plist'. It described a 3MP camera unlike the other news sources which described a 1MP camera.

Credit: Chris Galzerano

Now, we wouldn't want you all to think that this is irrefutable proof of the exact features of the Second Coming of the Holy Tablet of Jobs, but it's the best evidence we've seen - of what everyone was already predicting - so far.