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iPad 3 coming in the next 3-4 months, according to report

The next iPad will be here by March or April, according to a report, with the supply chain gearing up for production. Start saving now.

Apple's iPad 3 will be here around March or April, according to Digitimes. How does it know this? Component manufacturers have started delivering parts for the next-gen tablet to equipment manufacturers. In other words, the supply chain is creaking into action.

A March launch would also be a year on from the iPad 2 launch, which would fit with Apple's usual production schedule (though it doesn't stick to this religiously).

Chinese manufacturer Foxconn is again said to be producing the tablet, with production starting in January and ramping up in February. Digitimes cites a report from Commercial Times, a Chinese-language newspaper, which quotes an analyst at Citigroup Global Markets.

At the same time, iPad 2 production will drop off a cliff. At the end of this year production will stay at about 14-15 million, going down to 4-5 million in the first quarter of 2012. Digitimes pins the number of iPad 3 models being made at the start of 2012 as 9.5-9.8 million, which is pretty specific. And it predicts sales of all iPad products will reach 40 million by the end of 2011, up from 25.06 million in the first three quarters of the year. If these prognostications come to pass, Apple will be laughing all the way to the bank. Again.

Other rumours include that it'll have a retina display like on the iPhone 4S, making for fantastic images; an A6 processor (though that could push the release back to June); as well as Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant. It may well also have a thinner battery, yet be fatter as a device; be lighter; and have a curved glass display that could very well be 3D, if Hollywood insiders are to be believed.

It's almost enough to make us wish Christmas was over. What do you think the iPad 3 specs will be? Would Apple make a different-sized iPad? And will you be shelling out come launch day? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.