Supply Chain Says 3rd Generation iPad Due by March

The iPad Crystal Ball
Apple is planning to bring next generation iPad to market within 3-4 month, according to unnamed sources in Apple’s supply chain cited by Taiwan newspaper DigiTimes. At the same time, Citigroup Global Markets analyst Kevin Chang told Chinese-language newspaper Commercial Times that Foxconn will reportedly begin manufacturing the new device in January, and ramp up volume production by February.

Production volume will be in the 9.5-9.8 million unit range during the first quarter of 2012, according to other supply chain sources, with another 4-5 million iPad 2s being made during the quarter.

Many rumors have been coming from Apple’s Asian supply chain regarding the next generation iPad device, some of them conflicting. For instance, Apple has been reported to be working on an iPad 3 with a 2048 x 1536 resolution, four times higher than the current 1024 x 768. Other rumors say that Apple is working on a 7” iPad, perhaps with a 1024 x 768 resolution. Other rumors have married the two, with Apple putting out the 7” device first, followed by the larger device later in the year.

Some of these rumors have been battling it out for months now, but there have been consistent reports of these two configurations the closer we get to the first quarter. The timing is relevant because Apple released the iPad 2 in February of 2011, and many believe that the company will update the iPad again in February of 2012.