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Apple selling 1.2 million iPads per month, rate could double by holidays

Monthly sales of Apple's new iPad device have been rising steadily over the past several months, prompting the electronics maker to adopt a second supplier of 9.7-inch display panels in anticipation of strong fourth quarter sales that could top 6 million.

According to Taiwanese market sources, Samsung electronics will join LG Display as a supplier of the iPads LCD panels next month, with estimated monthly shipments expected to fall in the range of 300,000 to 500,000 per month.

The move comes amid a sharp uptick in iPad sales over the past 60 days that coincided with Apple's international launch of the device, which began ramping last month and broadened availability into Europe and parts of Asia.

The Cupertino-based company is now producing 1.2 million iPads each month, up from 800,000-900,000 units in May, 700,000 units in April, 470,000 units in March, and 300,000 in February.

Researchers for DigiTimes believe iPad sales may further increase twofold to 2.5 million units per month by the time the holidays roll around. By then, Apple will have released iOS 4 for iPad, delivering features such as multi-tasking and a unified mailbox.

It's estimated that Apple pays between $80 and $90 to its suppliers for each of the iPad's 9.7-inch display panels.