Industry watchdog Digitimes reported this morning that the next generation of the iPad could possibly start shipping in as early as February. The unconfirmed report says that the major manufacturer behind the iPad, Foxconn, has been ordered to have initial shipments ready by the end of February 2011. Foxconn is known as Apple’s leading manufacturer of Apple components and products, including the iPhone and the iPad.
Apple originally planned to start mass production in January, but issues with the new firmware that Apple is testing, has pushed everything back a month or so. The source close to Foxconn has said that initial shipments of 400,000-600,000 units should be ready in about 100 days.
The sources pointed out that the iPad 2 will ship as soon as the end of February in 2011. Apple originally planned to start mass production in January, but because the device’s firmware is currently still in testing, Apple has been postponing the schedule. Since Foxconn’s new plants in Chengdu are still in pilot production, iPad 2 will be mainly supplied by its Shenzhen plants, while the company’s upstream component partners have all been notified of the shipments schedule.
Now we all know this all speculation. When contacted, Foxconn declined to comment about the report or about any of their clients. Obviously Apple has yet to officially confirm the new iPad’s existence, or anything regarding it. But earlier rumors suggest that Apple could be announcing a early spring release in January.
The rumors are swirling about the new features of the new iPad. The big features could include a front facing camera with FaceTime support, a USB port, a overall thinner case design, new Retina display, and a gyroscope. DigiTimes is usually right on target with their sources, so there is good chance we could be seeing a new iPad very soon.