Apple's iPad 3 heads into production

Interestingly, last week we heard an analyst claiming that that an iPad mini was coming from Apple in the early part of 2012, followed on with an iPad 3. Now we hear the iPad 3 is heading into production. Confusing? You bet it is.

The latest word on the street comes from AllThingsD, which repeats a claim from Susquehanna Financial analyst Jeff Fidacaro, saying that the device is set for the production line. Supply chain checks apparently suggest to Fidacaro that Apple is ramping up its fourth-quarter iPad builds to between 12 and 14 million (from between 11 million and 13 million). That adjustment is due in part to an early iPad 3 production run.

'Since our last month supply chain checks we are now seeing 600,000 to one million iPad 3 builds showing up on the plan for the fourth quarter of calendar 2011,' Fidacaro said. 'Our previous estimate did not include any iPad 3s.'

Of course, those increased numbers could be the iPad mini, if indeed that rumour is true. More evidence will come out over the coming weeks. There is still time, as the launch date isn't expected to be any sooner than the first quarter of 2012, probably nearer March too. As for an enhanced iPad, there really isn't much detail about it, apart from the expectation of a high resolution Retina display, possibly an improved camera and of course, the latest incarnation of iOS (5.something).

Expect this one to run and run. At least, for the next four or five months anyway.

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