The iPad2 launch is approaching, and although we do not know the exact date yet, the rumors are warming up and everybody seems to ‘know’ something. ‘iLounge’ reports that it has received plenty of details about the second-generation iPad and its contents, and according to the report the information comes from a reliable source with a proven track record, but because this information is preliminary, surprises can still be expected at the official launch.

The source indicates that Apple is indeed building near-field communications (NFC) capabilities into the iPad2 and the Cupertino-based company is currently working to develop accessories that can interface with the NFC / RFID chips included in the coming new tablet.

The report notes:

In the basic implementation, an accessory could announce its presence and potential functions to an iPad or iPhone without the need for a Bluetooth or similar connection; our source suggests that an otherwise simple case could include a radio chip so that an inserted iPhone or iPad could go into power-saving hibernation mode automatically. More complex accessories will go far beyond that.

The same reliable source reports that Apple is planning to switch from the current aluminum shell for the iDevice to one made of carbon fiber. The reason quoted for this is to reduce the weight of the device. However, this is not news, as there are other iPad carbon fiber shells that have been spotted, so it appears that Apple might want to surprise its new and old consumers with a carbon fiber shell, although now it is questionable whether they will make their way into final production.

More interesting news is that regarding the 7-inch iPad. Although Steve Jobs called the 7-inch tablets ‘dead on arrival’ because of their inability to offer a satisfactory tablet experience with the small screen, the source reports that one of Apple’s suppliers has been asked to manufacture components to be used in a 7-inch iTablet!