Taipei-based Digitimes understands that component manufacturers are gearing up for a slated March or April release of the next-generation Apple iPad.
It seems to tie in with previous suggestions that the U.S. and Europe would be the first to get their hands on the long-awaited iPad 3, with a wider Asia rollout later in the year.
Digitimes said that makers in the supply chain have begun to deliver parts and components for the highly anticipated device, and that production will be ramped up in February to meet the expected demand.
The report suggests that the iPad 2 will decline in production from 14-15 million devices in the fourth quarter, but will decline by a third to around 4-5 million of that by the first quarter. The new iPad 3 is expected to reach just shy of 10 million units in the first quarter, filling the deficit left by the tablet's predecessor.
April, though outside the holiday season range and the summer season where many Apple products are released, will mark the second anniversary of the original iPad's launch in the U.S.
The iPad 2 was out in March 2011, only ten months later.
It is thought the next-generation iPad 3 will be thicker in design. This could suggest a larger battery that would in turn make the device compatible to cope with additional 4G LTE technology.
Rumours late last month surfaced that Japan's largest cellular network would receive "two new 4G LTE enabled devices", further leading speculation that Apple has finally jumped on the next-generation wireless technology.
Having said that, there was strong speculation that the iPhone 5 would be released this fall, along with the iPad 3.
- CNET: Next-gen iPad available in 3-4 months (report)
- Unboxing Asia: LTE iPhone 5, iPad 3 release slated for 2012
- iPad 3 with hi-res display coming 'early' 2012, says WSJ