Rumors say iPad components arriving at assembly plants, due in a few months

Dec 12, 2011
Tech

The next iPad is but three to four months away, if new rumors coming out of Asia are to be believed. The latest story from Taiwanese publication DigiTimes states that production is about to start ramping up for Apple’s next version of the tablet, colloquially called the iPad 3 (since we’re guessing they’ll probably call […]

The next iPad is but three to four months away, if new rumors coming out of Asia are to be believed.

The latest story from Taiwanese publication DigiTimes states that production is about to start ramping up for Apple’s next version of the tablet, colloquially called the iPad 3 (since we’re guessing they’ll probably call it that). Citing unnamed sources working with component manufacturers that work with Apple, DigiTimes says those component manufacturers are starting to deliver their parts to OEM contractors to assemble the iPads and have them ready to go in the early part of 2012.

That puts the release of the iPad 2 somewhere around March or April, DigiTimes says. This makes sense, given that Apple tends to refresh its hardware about 12 months after the release of the last model. We got the iPad 2 in April last year, so it’s a fair assumption that the iPad 3 will be rolling out at around the same time.

Meanwhile, Apple will be scaling back production of the iPad 2 as it starts to shift toward supporting the new device. Production will stay high through this quarter, DigiTimes says, aiming at between 14 million and 15 million iPad 2s produced through the end of the year. In the first quarter of 2012, however, that number is going to drop significantly – down to 4-5 million – in order to clear production space for the iPad 3. Production for that device is expected to get up to between 9.5 and 9.8 million units in the first quarter of 2012.

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A thicker iPad?

Another rumor circulating last week pointed at the design of Apple’s next tablet. A rumor published by The Huffington Post suggests that the next iPad will be thicker than the iPad 2 – around 0.7 inches. The iPad 2 is only .34 inches thick.

The reason is the oft-rumored “Retina” display that will Apple is supposedly building into the next iPad. The screen size of the device will be the same, but in order to accommodate the sensors that a Retina iPad requires, it’ll require a little more space inside. But the thickness shift will likely be counterbalanced by how impressive a Retina iPad screen will be. The resolution reportedly is going to leap from 1024×768 pixels to 2048×1536.

Apple touted the thickness decrease with the iPad 2 as being really, really impressive, so you can probably expect zero discussion of the size and weight alteration to come up this spring when Apple announces the new device. Still, a Retina iPad has been on customer wish lists since the iPhone 4 was released, and fans should be more than willing to overlook the change in size for the change in resolution.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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