Mysterious images suggest new iPad coming soon

As it was one of the best-selling products in all of 2010, the iPad is most certainly not leaving any time soon. But when can we expect the next in this line of Apple tablets?

Well, apparently it’s going to happen sooner rather than later. At least, that’s what we’d expect when we hear something like this: there have been leaked pictures of protective cases that are supposedly for the iPad 2.

Gaining traction of Apple fansite 9to5 Mac, the cases appear to fit a gadget with a contoured screen, a larger built-in speaker, and – wait for it – a camera! Apple didn’t put a camera in the original iPad because, well, it does seem kind of impractical. But apparently people want it, so if this case is anything to go by, they’ll get it.

Of course, Apple isn’t getting directly involved. Some third-party company has contacted 9to5 Mac asking the site to pull down the pictures, apparently because they show an “extremely accurate” representation of what the iPad 2 will look like.

Apple hasn’t even confirmed the existence of an iPad successor, but given how many shortcomings there are with the original, the company would be stupid not to do a redesign as quickly as possible. Besides, this is the company that practically invented the idea of turning your fancy gadgets into obsolete junk, so we’d expect nothing less.

The leaked images also show Apple fixing two of the biggest problems with the iPad – no external storage media and no USB port. It looks as though the new product in question would have a USB connection and an SD card slot, meaning the iPad 2 would actually be entering the 1990s.

Previous leaks and rumors suggest the iPad 2 will also be significantly slimmer and lighter than the original iPad, alleviating complaints that it was too heavy after holding for a while.

But for the official details, we’ll have to wait for Apple to chime in. And who knows when that’ll be? [[Apple]]