updated 12:10 pm EST, Fri December 23, 2011
Catcher overtime may be iPad 3 clue
A combination of statements and rumors on Friday has hinted that Apple might be pulling out stops to get the iPad 3 released as soon as possible in 2012. With rumors circulating from Taiwan's Economic Daily News that the iPad 3 was being targeted for a wide window between mid-February and late March, Catcher mentioned that some staff would have to work overtime during the Lunar New Year holiday in and around January 23. Informal sources also had other key iPad suppliers trimming back, with Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision Industry) limiting vacations to five days, battery designer Simplo, camera lens maker Genius, and connection builder Amer all having some staff work through the break.
One rumor had a goal of launching the improved tablet on the late Steve Jobs' birthday, February 24, but this doesn't appear to be more than presumption. Apple has only launched hardware once on February 24, this year's first MacBook Pro refresh, and typically hasn't timed its launches around sentimental points in its history.
As many as four million of the new iPad could be part of the first batch, the contacts asserted. While it can't be corroborated, another recent tip had 9.8 million iPad 3s in the first quarter. Apple typically builds up enough stock to satisfy as much of its expected launch demand as it can manage before shifting to regular supply.
The iPad 3 could be more of a conspicuous improvement than the iPad 2 if it includes the widely rumored 2048x1536 display. An A6 processor would be needed to drive the higher resolution and could be either a fast dual-core or quad-core chip with upgraded graphics to match.