Tuesday, January 04, 2011, 11:30 pm PT (02:30 am ET)
CES: Next-gen iPad case mockup, Lenovo reveals iPad challengerA Consumer Electronics Show exhibitor is displaying a sample case for the the second-generation iPad with a machined aluminum mockup of Apple's unreleased tablet that resembles supposed iPad 2 cases seen online, while Lenovo has announced its first tablet, the LePad, which will attempt to take on the iPad in the PC maker's home country of China.
iPad 2 mockup
China-based manufacturer Dexim is showing off the case, which sports a Bluetooth keyboard that uses magnets to stick to the front cover, Engadget reports. According to the report, the case matches purported iPad 2 cases that were spotted online last month.
Several models of cases for the upcoming iPad were taken down from the international trade site Alibaba.com after the site received a "legitimate takedown request" from an unspecified source last week. The leaked cases lent support to rumors that the next iPad will have a flat back and a larger speaker.
Dexim's aluminum iPad 2 mockup is slimmer than the first-generation iPad, with tapered edges reminiscent of the iPod touch and space for a front and back camera, as well as the space for the rumored larger speaker.
Lenovo revealed its first challenger to Apple's iPad, a 10.1-inch Google Android-based tablet called the LePad, to the press Tuesday evening. The tablet will run Android 2.2 and has a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Computerworld reports.
Leo Li, senior product manager at Lenovo, told reporters that the LePad will go on sale in China later this quarter for a price between $399 and $449. Overseas distribution of the tablet has yet to be decided, though Lenovo may offer a U.S. version that connects to the Android Market.
The PC maker also revealed preliminary plans to launch several other Android-based tablets in the U.S., possibly in the second half of the year, but declined to provide more specific details.
In July 2010, Lenovo CEO Liu Chuanzhi reportedly said that his company is "lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn't care about China," noting that the company "would be in trouble" if Apple spent the same amount of effort as Lenovo on the Chinese consumer.
Liu's luck may have come to an end, however, as Apple has seen tremendous interest in its products since July. In September, the Cupertino, Calif., company launched both the iPad and the iPhone 4 to long lines, with fans lining up days in advance. Sales of the iPhone 4 by China Unicom surpassed 100,000 in just four days, with another 100,000 preorders to fulfill.
After opening two more retail stores on the day of the iPhone 4 launch, Apple now has a total of four stores in China, two in Shanghai and two in Beijing. In October, the company launched an online Apple Store for China, as well as a Simplified Chinese language version of the App Store.
Even with the addition of more stores and an online store, Apple has struggled to meet demand for the iPhone 4, iPad and MacBook Air in China.
Lenovo could be in trouble on its home turf, as analyst Brian White of Ticonderoga believes China is "in the early stages of catching 'Apple fever.'" According to a December check by White, the iPhone 4 still has wait times of around two months, while China Unicom has been unable to fulfill about a third of its preorders.
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