A report in Thursday's DigiTimes says that Apple is about to put into production the next-gen version of its tablet. Sources from the upstream supply chain tell the site that Apple is not considering this device to be the Apple iPad 3
, considering it to be more of an upgraded Apple iPad 2
. While this report certainly needs to be taken with a grain of salt, the story says that that it won't be until the third quarter of 2012 when the Cupertino based firm will rollout the Apple iPad 3. This would dovetail with earlier reports we passed on to you that the Apple iPad 3 would not hit the marketplace in 2011
While the tablet going into production now is only a stop-gap device, that doesn't mean that there aren't any positive changes. The upgraded iPad 2 is expected to be thinner than the current model
and offer longer battery life
. DigiTimes adds that due to the Chinese Lunar New Year Holidays in January, Apple will begin to ship small amounts of the upgraded iPad 2 this quarter. There is no rush for Apple to refresh its current tablet as some retailers are telling DigiTimes that the current Apple iPad 2 remains the most popular tablet in the IT market at present.