Will iPad 2 get 128GB of storage capacity?

Mock-ups at CES indicate next iPad will look much like current model, offer more storage

If mockups on the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week are to be trusted, then the second iteration of Apple's iPad tablet will have 128GB of capacity on its solid-state drive (SSD).

With 128GB of space, the iPad 2 could become a more viable contender against traditional laptops, including the $999 MacBook and MacBook Air, which come with a 250GB, 5400-rpm hard disk drive and 64GB SSD, respectively.

"You already have a lot of consumers who use their iPads in lieu of their laptop for certain tasks," said Michael Gartenberg, a research director with Gartner. "It replaces them for many tasks. Obviously, bumping up the storage on the iPad just makes it that much more viable for what I want to take with me when I'm disconnected."

According to attendees blogging about the show, two mock-ups of the iPad 2 have shown up on the floor. One mock-up came from a company that sells docking stations; the other is from a speaker manufacturer. Each displayed new products with the mockups, both of which had iPad 2 and 128GB logos on the back.

One slide show on Indian technology site iGyaan, shows extensive details on the outside of a Chinese docking station manufacturer's mockup of the iPad 2.

Gartenberg said the iPad is already a challenger to the laptop and netbook market, and adding more capacity will simply make it more so. But it won't change the more basic trend of consumers needing less native capacity on devices, since they can store increasing amounts of data in the cloud.

"The one thing I can say for certain, whatever things we saw at CES this week -- and there are a lot of impressive devices there -- none of them are going to be facing the iPad in the marketplace," he said. "They're going to be facing the iPad's successor in the marketplace. I'm sure Apple plans to appropriately raise the bar."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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