We’ve got a new iPad 2 rumor for you: the fabled new version of the Apple (AAPL) tablet will be seeing an early April release, with a Chinese manufacturer being notified that it’ll need to start production on 400,000 to 600,000 new version iPads within the next 100 days.
Foxconn Electronics (2317.TW), the Chinese manufacturer supposedly charged with Apple’s order, refused to comment, but they’re going to be building some kind of new iPad, according to DigiTimes’ sources.
The DigiTimes story, which cites “sources from Taiwan-based components makers,” says the iPad 2 was originally slated for production in January, but it’s being held up because its firmware is still in testing. So Foxconn is on standby, ready to receive the call to start building new iPads anytime over the next few months.
We initially brought you the rumors of a new iPad being released in 2011 back in November, when an analyst over at equity analysis firm Wedge Partners said there were indications that Apple was working on a global, carrier-neutral edition of the device. He also said the new iPad would feature a unibody construction process, similar to that of the Macbook, and would include a front-facing camera.
It seems original iPads are still selling strong, and Apple has been expanding sales to various new countries steadily since its release. Apple moved 7.5 million iPads in the first three quarters of 2010, with 4.19 million sold in Q3 2010. The company is expected to sell an additional 7 million as it moves into new markets and the winter holiday season ramps up.
DigiTimes sources expect Apple to keep selling iPads almost until February before starting to reduce inventory to make room for the iPad 2. Right now, production is exceeding orders, but Apple isn’t slowing down and DigiTimes’ sources expect those iPads in production to sell steadily all the way until the announcement for the new version.
Still, if it’s true that we’re about to get the new iPad, expect price drops, especially in the early portion of 2011. Then again, we were thinking the same thing might be true during the holiday season — but with the iPad 2 reportedly being delayed by a couple months, it seems the best deal you’re going to get is $499.
Then again, you can always listen to the nameless Taiwanese component makers and stick it out for an inventory reduction price, or even an iPad 2, sometime next year.