Thinner iPad with camera, USB might come as early as June

Apple’s newest version of the iPad might come out in less than 10 months, or just a little over a year after the first one went on sale.

That is according to a report from Goldman Sachs. The financial services firm predicts a new iPad would have a 9.7-inch display, a thinner form factor and lighter weight, and a mini USB port. One of the things that has turned people away from the original iPad is that it has no USB ports.

It’s also widely believed that a refreshed version of the iPad will include a built-in digital camera.

In its first 80 days after going on sale earlier this year, the iPad sold more than three million units. Since being available on a global scale, the device has become one of the definitive must-have items of the year.

However, that success has propelled imitators to come forward in a big way. By the summer of next year there will be major competition in the multimedia tablet market. Research in Motion has the newly announced Blackberry Playbook, HP is working on a WebOS tablet, and Asus, Samsung, Dell and others are all creating tablets based on the biggest rival to Apple’s iOS platform, Android.

Goldman Sachs predicts the tablet market, which was non-existant at the beginning of this year, will grow to as much as 35 million units in 2011. It’ll be one of the fastest-growing segments in the entire consumer electronics industry and everyone wants a piece of the pie.