DigiTimes reports that Foxconn, the company responsible for manufacturing many of Apple’s products, will be shipping the next-generation iPad by the end of February, for an April launch. Around half a million units are expected to ship initially, so they will most likely be in tight supply until production is ramped up. Analysts estimate that Apple will ship 15 million iPads by the end of the fourth quarter, with sales continuously climbing. Though, supply is beginning to surpass demand, and sources say that Apple will dial down the current-gen iPad shipments in preparation for the iPad 2.
The sources pointed out that the iPad 2 will ship as soon as the end of February in 2011. Apple originally planned to start mass production in January, but because the device’s firmware is currently still in testing, Apple has been postponing the schedule. Since Foxconn’s new plants in Chengdu are still in pilot production, iPad 2 will be mainly supplied by its Shenzhen plants, while the company’s upstream component partners have all been notified of the shipments schedule.
The iPad 2 is rumored to have a number of significant changes, including a camera, USB port, 3-axis gyroscope, new display technology, and better mobility.