The Apple rumors game can be a volatile thing. Just as we'd heard about last minute alterations to the Apple TV before it hit the market, we've gotten word from sources that the iPad 2 slated to be announced next Wednesday will be sans a few of the features we'd previously reported. Notably, that SD card slot and higher resolution display won't make it into the new model (the latter we'd been hearing rumblings about for a little while). What's the cause of the switch? Well our sources weren't crystal clear on the exact reasons, but the gist of what was explained to us centered around vague "engineering issues" which may have forced some changes at the eleventh hour. It's worth noting once again that these sources have been dead right on specific Apple plans and specifications for unannounced products in the past, and we have no reason to believe these changes are due to anything more than legitimate engineering decisions made close to launch.

So what will we see on March 2nd? We're hearing it's most likely a thinner, spec-bumped variation of the original iPad with a screen size and resolution identical to the current model. More RAM (512MB) and a more powerful CPU (the A5) are expected as well. It's also a pretty safe bet the tablet will be sporting at least one camera up front -- though if some of those case mockups we've seen tell us anything, expect a shooter around back too. It's also almost guaranteed that we'll see the next version of iOS (number 5 in all likelihood, along with its SDK for devs), and an expansion of Apple's cloud services (that part is a little... foggy right now). Of course, that will perfectly set up Apple's announcement of the iPhone 5 in June, which is when iPad owners can likely expect to be using the new software. Regardless, we'll have the goods come next week, so stay tuned!

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Sources: iPad 2 lands in thinner body with spec bump and cameras, SD slot and higher resolution display are out