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Tablets

Apple iPad 3 to launch in early 2012, say industry sources in Taiwan

Apple is currently certifying component manufacturers prior to building the iPad 3 for an early 2012 launch, according to industry sources.

The iPad 3 could be released early next year, according to Taiwanese industry sources. While many had hoped we'd see an update to the wonder tablet towards the end of this year, it's likely Apple is still certifying components for use in the device, DigiTimes reports.

Sources claim that a number of companies have already been approved and can look forward to a very healthy bank balance in the not too distant future. These include manufacturers of LED backlight units and light bars.

This would maintain Apple's March release window for new iPads, whereas current rumourology points to the iPhone's traditional June launch moving to later in the year.

What type of display the iPad 3 will use remains unanswered. Unusually, Apple may be erring on the side of caution when it comes to pushing current boundaries. We'd heard rumours of the iPad 3 having an AMOLED screen, which -- as things currently stand -- would make it the first tablet to use such a display. Insiders claim, however, Apple will stick to a tried and tested 9.7-inch LCD panel. That rules out the 3D rumour, too.

Who will get the coveted display contract? Both Samsung and LG have supplied units in the past. Apple's current legal wrangling with Samsung may sway things in favour of someone else.

Though it's fairly obvious the iPad 2 will fall in price when the iPad 3 lands, some industry experts believe it will be priced to compete with other tablets, such as the Acer Iconia Tab and Motorola Xoom.

The iPad 2 is still a pretty impressive beast in itself, yet it could soon face stiff competition from rumoured 10-inch PlayBook and Motorola Xoom 2. Short of stuffing a quad-core processor and an updated camera in the iPad 3, what other improvements do Apple need to make to the iPad?