Hold tight, Apple fans. Is iPad 2 being launched next week?

iPad 2 leaked image (9to5 Mac)

Image: 9to5Mac

It’s one of the biggest questions of our times: Shall I get an iPad now or wait for the next generation device come out?’

Whispers that the iPad 2 might be released next week could remove that stress-inducing dilemma.

First off, Digg founder Kevin Rose blogged on 7th January that it could be released in the next 3-4 weeks.

Then came the leaked image of an iPad 2 showing 9th February on the home screen (left). Now German website MacNotes says it has learned that Apple is planning an iOS 4.3 event for developers on this date at which the new device will be unveiled.

It also predicts that the iPad 2 will have Apple A5 processor, a speaker grill on the back, a USB port and will look similar to the iPod Touch 4G.

Eagle-eyed hacks at Reuters even spotted a prototype at this week’s launch of iPad newspaper The Daily, featuring a front-facing camera which would enable FaceTime chat.

This could be the Apple PR machine in action, allowing a few rumours to spread to build up hype ahead of a new product launch. And MacNotes implies that the launch would be in Europe first, which would be unusual.

However, with the launch The Daily and the arrival of competitor tablets like Samsung Galaxy Tab, maybe Apple is keen to keep up momentum while asserting their dominance in the market. So we might not have to wait until April after all…