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Apple Planning Three Versions of iPad 2 for a 2011 Launch

Apple is planning to offer three versions of its next-gen iPad each with alternate ways of connecting to the Internet, according to a report from a Taiwanese news website.

The move likely signals Apple’s efforts to attract more consumers by providing diverse connection options including combinations of Wi-Fi and the 3G wireless standards of UMTS and CDMA.

One of the options is expected to work with Verizon’s wireless network, according to the website DigiTimes.

DigiTimes writes:

Apple is expected to release three versions of iPad 2, supporting either or a combination of Wi-Fi, UMTS and CDMA, for 2011 with mass production to start as early as the later half of January. Apple will ship about 500,000-530,000 units to channels in January with shipment ratio of Wi-Fi, UMTS and CDMA models at 3:4:3, according to industry sources, citing upstream component makers.

The sources pointed out that about 60-65% of current iPad shipments are 3G models, indicating that consumers prefer models that are able to connect to the Internet all the time, therefore Apple is aiming to work even more closely with telecom carriers by offering more wireless solutions for iPad 2 to satisfy market demand.

While Apple’s iPad enjoyed unprecedented success in 2010 as the first mass produced tab to make a splash with the general public — the iPad claimed 95 percent of all sales in the third quarter of 2010 and has sold an estimated 7.5 million units — a new wave of competition will crash on American shores over the next few weeks.

Now, Apple is reportedly gearing up a host of improvements and additions for the iPad 2.