Report: Apple to Rev iPad in 2011 with New Processor, 7” Display

Apple is working on two new versions of the iPad the company will release in the first quarter of 2011, according to a report from DigiTimes. The Taiwan-based newspaper said that the first model will have the same 9.7” display as the current model and be powered by a new ARM processor based on the Cortex-A9 and sports 512MB of RAM. The second model will have a smaller 7” display, though with the same 1024 x 768 resolution as its larger cousin.

DigiTimes is the source of many Apple-related rumors, with the company’s sources coming from the myriad of companies in Taiwan that supply components to Apple or manufacture the company’s finished products. The newspaper’s track record, however is spotty, though it’s often more the details that differ, rather than the main substance of its leaked stories.

Apple’s current iPad and iPhone 4 are powered by the Apple-designed A4 processor, an ARM variant the company optimized for its own use that is based on ARM’s Cortex-A8 reference design. DigiTimes didn’t offer any details on whether the Cortex-A9 chip it says will be used in the new products will also be an Apple-designed variant, but the company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars acquiring outside companies that specialize in designing ARM processors.

It’s not clear why Apple would split its iPad product line into two slightly different form factors, but if it did so, offering both a 9.7” and 7” version with the same displau resolution would help prevent the kind of balkanization that the Android platform currently struggles with in the smartphone space.

DigiTimes also added to the newest round of reports that Apple is working on a CDMA version of the iPhone for use on the Verizon network in the U.S., adding that Verizon will announce the deal at CES 2011 and start selling the device later that January.

We’ll point out that outside companies never make Apple product announcements, while acknowledging that the lack of details in the DigiTimes report leaves plenty of wiggle room to make the story more plausible.

Lastly, DigiTimes threw in a paragraph about Apple working on a new version of Apple TV that uses AMD’s Fusion APU (combination CPU and GPU). The new Apple TV will reportedly run iOS, and include support for social networking sites and Apple’s App Store. The device will reportedly begin production in December of 2010.