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Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 09:15 am PT (12:15 pm ET)

Apple to add USB port to next-generation iPad - rumor

A well-connected industry insider has relayed a rumor that Apple's second-generation iPad will include a built-in USB port when it launches in 2011.

On his official Twitter account this week, Eldar Murtazin shared the rumor that the new iPad will feature a USB port. Murtazin is a respected insider for news in the mobile world, and serves as editor in chief of the Mobile Review blog.

"Talked with colleague which working with some [original design manufacturer] vendors connected with Apple," he wrote. "He is research guy. According to his sources, iPad2 will have usb port."

If true, the addition could be a result of an agreement European device makers came to in 2009, with a pact that would ensure that a micro-USB ports would serve as a charger for mobile devices. That would be a change for Apple, which relies on its 30-pin iPod connector for syncing and charging on many of its devices, including the iPhone and iPad.

The current iPad offers limited USB connectivity with an adapter that is sold separately and plugs in to the 30-pin slot on the bottom of the touchscreen tablet. While the USB adapter is intended for importing photos from cameras, some have found that it also works with USB audio and some keyboards.

Rumors of Apple's second-generation iPad have picked up steam in recent weeks, as the device is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2011. One report this week claimed that Apple will build a third model that will include a CDMA 3G radio for wireless connectivity on the go.

Numerous cases claimed to be for the second-generation device have suggested that the new iPad will feature a larger speaker with a metal grille on the back side of the device. Reports have also claimed that the touchscreen tablet will have a flat back, much like the latest iPod touch.

Apple is also expected to add as many as two cameras to the new iPad, which will allow users of the device to engage in FaceTime video chat with owners of the iPhone 4, latest iPod touch, or Macs with the FaceTime software. The company is allegedly employing a top-down approach to making FaceTime an industry standard.