updated 10:00 pm EST, Mon December 6, 2010
Foxconn's next-gen iPad production due February
Foxconn is due to start shipping finished iPads in late February for a launch less than two months later, part suppliers said Monday night. The company reportedly has an initial order of 400,000 to 600,000 of Apple's tablets at its main Shenzhen factory to deliver them for a release in early April, one year after the original debut. Production would have started in January, but Apple is still said by Digitimes to be testing new firmware and to have postponed production to ensure it was ready.
The tip also has Apple now making more iPads than it's selling, but that the decision may be deliberate to help feed the transition. It might finish production of the original iPad at the end of January and then use the remaining supply to fill orders until late March, giving away the early April release. About six million iPads would have shipped in the summer and, with 4.19 million iPads sold, would have to make just one more large order of 1.6 million to 1.8 million iPads in January before slowing down and stopping production altogether.
Apple may have a blockbuster fall even with the seeming excess, as it's estimated to be shipping seven million iPads. Samsung in contrast sold one million Galaxy Tabs in two months and may ship 1.5 million by the end of 2010, or less than a quarter of Apple's sales rate.
The story corroborates earlier February production rumors and suggests that Apple now plans to make April iPad releases a regular occurrence, just as it has been releasing iPhones in June or July. Most now expect the new iPad to have dual cameras, possibly a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and more RAM.