Evidence Hints at iPad 3 Release in Early 2012

According to published reports in the far east on Thursday, Apple’s third-generation iPad may be released soon after the start of the new year.

DigiTimes reveals that Apple’s current plans for the iPad 2 call for the tablet to be reduced in price following the launch of the iPad 3. This will give Apple a leg up on the competition in the entry-level tablet PC market.

The report says the greatest evidence to suggest a looming iPad 3 arrival comes from the fact that iPad 2 production has been dramatically reduced in recent weeks.

“Sources from Apple’s supply chain,” DigiTimes reports, “have pointed out that Apple’s orders for iPad 2 are dropping gradually, while orders for the new devices remain steady.”

As for whether the drops in orders could mean that Apple is actually planning to phase out iPad 2, the sources noted it is still too early to tell, and more observations need to be done in 2012 before the picture becomes clearer.

Although there remains talk of Apple possibly ending iPad 2 production after the iPad 3 hits the market, most industry analysts believe Apple will keep the iPad 2 around as a means to keep the Amazon Kindle Fire’s market share as small as possible.