A number of industry reports indicate that Apple's iPad 3 is likely to hit the market sometime over the next three to four months.
According to DigiTimes, Apple has already begin delivering components for the next-gen tablet to OEM contractors.
Concurrently, Cupertino is preparing to "draw down" production of the iPad 2 as it prepares to stock the new device.
Nevertheless, OEM production of the iPad 2 is likely to remain steady at 14-15 million units in the December quarter, before declining to 4-5 million units in the first quarter of 2012.
The latest DigiTimes reports seems to (approximately) confirm a recent analyst note written by CitiGroup analyst Kevin Chang who claimed Foxconn would begin producing the device in January ahead of large-scale production and launch in February.
However, as AppleInsider's Josh Ong notes, an official spring (March/April) launch seems more likely for Apple's iPad 3, as Cupertino has traditionally preferred to debut new iterations of the wildly popular device in the spring.
Indeed, the original iPad was announced in January 2010 and hit store shelves in April, while the second-gen iPad was unveiled in March 2011 and shipped later that month.
Although Apple has yet to confirm specs for the upcoming tablet, the iPad 3 is expected to feature an advanced display with Retina-like quality which utilizes IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc) technology to help provide a thinner design while extending an already impressive battery life.