According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, Apple will begin trial production of the next-generation iPad with key component suppliers in October, with the device set to debut in “early 2012” featuring a “high resolution display”. Whilst speculation in the past months had claimed Apple would release two iPads in 2011, with a possible “iPad 3” likely set for a Fall release alongside the iPhone 5, recent rumors have indicated Apple would either stick with its annual release cycle, or launch a minor refresh of the iPad 2 – dubbed iPad 2 HD – this year, focusing on improving screen resolution and processor speed.
The Wall Street Journal seems to believe the former theory, claiming that “[the] next generation iPad is expected to feature a high resolution display - 2048 by 1536 compared with 1024 by 768 in the iPad 2” with a launch in early 2012.
One component supplier to Apple said the company has already placed orders for parts for about 1.5 million iPad 3s in the fourth quarter.
“Suppliers will ramp up production and try to improve the yield rate for the new iPad in the fourth quarter before its official launch in early 2012,” said a person at the supplier.
Rumors surrounding a second iPad to be released in the fall started when both TechCrunch and Daring Fireball’s John Gruber hinted at an iPad 3 coming out this year for a “fall surprise”. Since then, speculation has been running wild as to whether Apple could really release the iPad 3 in 2011 whilst they were still struggling to meet demand for the iPad 2, which Apple COO Tim Cook later described as the “mother of all backlogs” due to a combination of high customer demand, and component shortages. However, at the Q3 earnings call in July Apple reported 9.25 million iPads sold in the quarter, mentioning that iPad 2 supply improved “dramatically” in the previous months.
Whereas several websites are still backing up the claims of a second iPad to be released in 2011, a report from Digitimes in June detailed how Apple had just began component certification for the iPad 3 set to come out next year. Technical details of the new device are unclear, although a number of reports in the past months – as well as graphical elements found in the iOS operating system – suggested Apple wants to build a “Retina Display” in the iPad 3 by doubling the existing resolution of the device, bringing it to 2048 x 1536 pixels up from 1024 x 768.