|Probably not what the Wii 2 will look like.|
Supposedly the new console will be announced at E3 for a 2012 shipment, and it's being shown to industry leaders now. The new console is supposed to be backwards-compatible with the current Wii, and there will be a pre-announcement from Nintendo coming before E3. When queried, Nintendo gave its stock "We don't respond to rumors" answer. Check out the sources yourself here, here, and here.
This is NOT a coincidence, folks. Clearly Nintendo is finally letting a little rumor-mongering happen. They're floating a trial balloon, in a totally deniable way, to gauge reactions. It must have finally sunk in that Wii sales (and third-party support) are on an irreversible downward trend. Price cuts will definitely help boost sales, but at the expense of profitability. And even with a price cut to $149 (and eventually to $99) for the Wii coming (rumors say a price cut is coming in May) I don't see third-party support recovering. There are too many other places for publishers to invest their development dollars.
I'd say an E3 announcement of a 2012 release date for a Wii 2 might seem early, but it would be good for Nintendo to get some excitement rolling early. Perhaps they felt this was necessary given the less-than-stellar response to the 3DS in the marketplace. I think they were hoping the 3DS would be such a huge hit they could take their time with a Wii successor. Now that it's clear the 3DS will not, by itself, save Nintendo's profits, they are starting to leak out info about a Wii successor to generate some excitement about Nintendo again.
What are the chances for a Wii successor? It's difficult to really say how well a console might sell before you know little details like price, capabilities, and software... but certainly the Wii is way past its prime. The Xbox 360 and the PS3 are starting to look a bit long in the tooth, but both Sony and Microsoft would love to get a few more years of nice profits out of those consoles before they enter the maelstrom of new hardware again (and all the losses that implies for the manufacturers, plus the pain and suffering of developers trying to figure out how to use the half-baked tools for new consoles... I can hear the screams from here).
If Nintendo is really going for sheer graphics horsepower, it represents a change in their approach. Perhaps they couldn't think of an inexpensive add-on that was as powerful as motion-control has been for the Wii, and with that out of the picture they figured horsepower was the best bet. There are problems with choosing horsepower, though; pushing pixels and polygons gets expensive in terms of silicon. And as the number of polygons gets higher, the differences to consumers are less and less compelling. The difference between 1000 polygons and 10,000 polygons onscreen is huge; the difference between 10,000 and 100,000 is not as readily apparent; and the difference between 100,000 and 1,000,000 is something you have to look at carefully to see, and non-gamers would easily not see it.
In the past Sony would talk about things that weren't polygons to say why new, expensive hardware was worth the money... they used terms like Emotion Engine to say that games could now have emotional content because of the horsepower available. Did we ever see those? No, not really; developers found it far easier to build better graphics than to figure out how to make games more emotional. We are getting games that are more engaging, but it's a slow process. Most of the new horsepower in the latest consoles is devoted to better graphics, displayed faster.
So I think the horsepower route is a risky one for Nintendo, but they are in need of a boost right now. Sales are sagging, the 3DS has not set the world on fire, and their stock price is in the dumper. Perhaps some adroit rumor-mongering can bring it back up for them.