A recent report on the Apple Insider claims that Apple could be breaking its traditional annual product cycle for the iPad.
According to sources, Apple is already in the "advanced testing stages" of the second generation iPad, which could be launched as early as the holidy shopping season this year.
The speculations come despite the fact that the original iPad that was released just in April this year has been seeing a continued demand from customers. The sources have noted that Apple is keen to popularize its new FaceTime video calling option and that the new iPad could come with a front facing camera to support this functionality. A holiday season launch could thus give Apple the platform to popularize its new video calling functionality.
It is also worth noting that the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the 7" Android tablet that has seen rave reviews in the past few weeks, is also slated for a holiday season release in the US. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is noted to come with both the front-facing as well as the rear-facing camera. The launch of a second generation iPad around the same time could help Apple take on competition from Android tablets more effectively.
With FaceTime rumored to come to the iPad after it has been launched on the iPhone and iPod Touch, it is being speculated that the company could be expanding the service to more platforms soon. According to a report on French website, Mac4Ever, Apple could be prepping a version of the FaceTime video calling client for both the Mac OS X and Windows. The website points out that the Mac version of the application could be integrated with iChat though it is not clear how the Windows version would pan out.
Mac4Ever insists that these are rumors and need to be taken with guarded skepticism. Nevertheless, the latest speculations appear strategic and we wouldn't be surprised if Apple indeed launches the next generation iPad shortly and brings FaceTime to Mac OS X and Windows. What do you think?