iPad 3 Release Date: Apple Slowing iPad 2 Production to Focus on iPad 3?

The slowing of inventory shipments for the iPad 2 may indicate that Apple is now preparing for iPad 3 productions.

Sources told technology website DigiTimes that Apple is now in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, controlling iPad 2 panel units coming in from suppliers such as Samsung Electronics, LG Display and Chimei Innolux.

Previous reports indicating that Apple will soon start production of the iPad 3 has led insiders to believe that the transition is happening as manufacturers begin to decrease their shipments to Apple.

LG Display decreased its shipment of 9.7-inch iPad 2 panels from 3 million units to 2.5 million in October, while Chimei Innolux decreased its shipment from 700,000 units to 350,000.

DigiTimes sources said that next generation iPad touch panels have begun to ship in their place.

Panels for the next generation iPad were reportedly shipping to Apple from manufacturers Samsung and Sharp since October. Meanwhile, Taiwanese companies TPK Holding and Wintek will ship the panels between November and December.

Sources previously told DigiTimes that Apple's inventory currently contains enough key parts and components to produce at least 2 million units of the next iPad by the end of 2011.

The inventory adjustments seem to be in tune with speculation that the next iPad will release during the first quarter of 2012, beginning in April.

Speculations also indicate that Apple is planning to release two iPads in 2012, a low cost version as well as the iPad 3.

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