There has been considerable speculation recently on what new features the next generation iPad will get.
Earlier this month, we had published pictures of the next generation iPad cases sourced from Chinese websites that showed a large slot at the bottom of the casing. We had speculated back then that Apple could offer an SD card slot at this position. However, some sources have debated this claim.
According to Japanese blog Mac Octakara, this slot could contain a new “wide range speaker unit covered with metal mesh“. The blog cites an anonymous Chinese source for the information. While the authenticity of the speculation stays unverified for the moment, there is however growing support for this claim.
Folks at Electronista have now pointed us to a new case available for purchase on the Chinese website Alibaba.com that indicates the possibility of a wide-range speaker on the iPad. The vendor has published a mock-up image of the rear side of the iPad casing that shows a speaker grille at the bottom of the casing. Although this picture is only a rendering, it is interesting to note that the accessory manufacturers view the slot as one for the speakers and not for an SD card as previously thought.
It is worth noting that this recently published rendering of an iPad case is in line with a lot of other speculations that have been doing the rounds in the past few weeks. The iPad case carries a round slot on the rear side for the camera. Also, the case carries slots for the iPad mute switch and the volume rocker. It should however be noted that the iPad displayed in the mockup image is merely for reference purposes and may not be indicative of what iPad 2 would look like.
In any case, if these latest rumors are true, then it could greatly enhance the utility of the iPad as a media consumption device. With a number of online media services including Hulu launching iPad applications to reach out to their consumers, features like a wide-range speaker to increase the sound quality could increase the appeal of the Apple iPad to a great extent. What do you think?[via Electronista]