WSJ: Next-gen iPad now in production; Tablet wars heating up

Summary:As HP prepares an update on WebOS and Motorola gets ready to launch the Android-powered Xoom, the WSJ reports that the new iPad is now in production, offering hints that it will be here sooner, rather than later.

The Wall Street Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter," reported that a new version of Apple's iPad is now in production - and it will thinner and lighter than the debut model.

The device will also have at least one camera on the front, more memory and a more powerful graphics processor. But expect the same display resolution. It will be available through both Verizon and AT&T but not Sprint or T-Mobile.

The WSJ said it didn't have details on the pricing.

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News like this further puts some meat behind buzz about the iPad2's forthcoming release. It also puts the pressure on Google and Motorola to make sure that the Xoom - which is widely believed to be headed for stores before the end of this month - is compelling enough to gain some traction in the market.

Likewise, RIM's Playbook will need to make a strong showing when it debuts - expected in the coming months. And let's not forget about Hewlett-Packard, which is hosting an event tomorrow to share news about WebOS, the mobile operating system it picked up when it acquired Palm.

And then there are the tablets running Microsoft's operating system. Earlier today, Dell said it will release a 10-inch business-ready tablet running Windows 7 later this year.

But let's be real about this: Apple has set the bar for tablet computing - whether you like it or not - and everyone else is playing catch up. If the new products - which are pretty much unknowns still - aren't "just as good as" the iPad, they'll have a tough go at it. Now, before they're even out, Apple is raising the bar again.

Of course, we don't know the specs yet on what the iPad2 will offer. But my guess is that it will certainly wow consumers - and Wall Street.

Topics: iPad, Mobility

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