Pegatron Technology, one of the major manufacturers of Apple's iPad, has already begun filling an order of iPad 3 units to be released in March, according to a report from industry Web site Digi Times.
The report also states that Pegatron will be producing between 7 million and 10 million iPad 4 units set to be released in October. And, according the DigiTimes' "sources from the upstream supply chain," Apple will be changing its manufacturing strategy, which will shift the manufacturing load of iPads to Pegatron (with iPhones as an auxiliary product) from Foxconn Electronics, which will focus on iPhone production (with iPads as an auxiliary product).
Two iPad models this year sounds great, huh? Well, there are couple of things we should decipher from all this before we get too excited.
First, if there are going to be two iPads, it is unlikely that we will see a limited run of an iPad 3 with a looming iPad 4 in the fall. The more likely scenario (if two iPads are to appear in 2012) is that the March iPad will be an iPad 2S, featuring an upgraded processor, more storage capacity, and perhaps more RAM.
It may also include a better camera package (a la the iPhone 4S) and perhaps Siri integration, but other than that, I don't think Apple would add too many extras. The iPad 4 (or as it would follow the 2S, the iPad 3), to be released in the fall, would then likely be a redesign of sorts and include further hardware advances.
Now, I expect something a little more subtle. I think Apple likes having a spring release of the newest iPad model and a late-summer/early fall iPhone event. So, we'll probably be getting the iPad 3, in all its glory, this spring. It will have the Retina Display, the A6, Siri, more storage, and more RAM. We might get a bit of a redesign to accommodate some of the upgraded insides, but it'll probably be hard to tell the difference from an iPad 2 at any sort of distance.
DigiTimes has already published several iPad rumors that include everything from tech specs to the possibility of a smaller, 7-inch model iPad, and everything in between. What do you think Apple's strategy should be for releasing iPads and iPhones? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!