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Apple rumored to be building iPad 3 with new, smaller dock connector

Apple's forthcoming third-generation iPad will have a newly redesigned dock connector, and will be released no earlier than March 2012, according to a new report.

Citing a "reliable Asian source," Japanese site Macotakara reported on Friday that Apple is preparing to release its next-generation iPad about a year after the iPad 2 debuted. The person reportedly said that the new iPad will be the same size as the iPad 2, but it is "not clear" if the tablet will sport a higher resolution Retina Display.

Production of the third-generation iPad is said to be under an "unusual rush schedule" due to the Chinese New Year on Jan. 23 and national holidays from Jan. 22 to 28. Factories will allegedly begin to produce the next iPad at the end of January.

The report said the so-called "iPad 3" will feature a redesigned, smaller dock connector, though the port will feature the same 30-pin input and electricity specification. The current design was first introduced in Apple's iPod lineup back in April of 2003.

Included are pictures of ribbon cables said to be from a prototype third-generation iPad, sold by a parts dealer from the Far East.

The site noted that the new dock connector will create compatibility issues with current products that utilize Apple's standard iPod 30-pin connector, forcing users to potentially buy new accessories and third-party manufacturers to make new products.

Finally, another source also reportedly suggested that Apple is currently building another device in the iOS family, to join the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Apple TV. However, the information was described as "not reliable," though "interesting."