iPad 3 Coming in Early 2012

Apple has reportedly begun trial production on its next-generation iPad tablet device and it’s scheduled to launch in early 2012.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has begun ordering chips, display panels and other key components for the iPad 3. It is reportedly expected to feature a high-resolution (2048×1536), 9.7-inch display, up from the iPad 2′s 9.5-inch, 1024×768 display. (The report didn’t say anything about the iPad 3′s rumored OLED screen, however.)

One supplier claimed that Apple has already placed orders to develop 1.5 million iPad 3s in the fourth quarter.

Apple announced the iPad 2 in March, just 15 months after the launch of the first-generation iPad. The accelerated release cycle has helped Apple maintain a dominant share of the tablet market, which Thursday claimed its first victim: the HP TouchPad.

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