iPad 3 going into production for early 2012 launch?

Apple's next iPad is ready for production and will start being manufactured in the fourth quarter, a new report claims.

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
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When will the iPad 2 be replaced?
When will the iPad 2 be replaced? Apple

Even as the iPhone 4S is just hitting store shelves today, Apple is hard at work on future product launches, a new report claims.

According to All Things Digital, which spoke with Susquehanna Financial analyst Jeff Fidacaro, Apple is sending the iPad 3 into production this quarter. Fidacaro told All Things Digital that he didn't know exactly how many iPad 3s Apple has ordered, but based on his "supply chain checks," he believes 600,000 to 1 million iPad 3 units will be built this quarter.

Fidacaro's claims are notable. As he told All Things Digital, Apple was supposed to produce between 11 million and 13 million iPads during the fourth quarter. Now, that range stands at 12 million to 14 million.

Of course, for consumers, the big question is when the iPad 3 will launch. Fidacaro would only commit to early 2012, which falls in line with Apple's past plans. Earlier this year, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company unveiled the iPad 2 in March.

However, not everyone is so quick to agree with the idea that Apple will launch the iPad 3 in early 2012. In August, The Linley Group, which follows the mobile processor industry, said that Apple is likely to bring the "A6" processor to the iPad 3. That processor will feature four cores instead of the dual-core A5 in the iPad 2. However, the Group said, it doesn't expect the A6 to be available in the iPad 3 until June 2012, at the earliest.

Of course, the only stakeholder that knows for sure is Apple. And as one might expect, the company has so far been unwilling to comment on the iPad 3. It also did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the All Things Digital report.