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Foxconn, Pegatron to ship first batch of 'iPad 3' units in early March - rumor

A new report claims Apple manufacturers Foxconn and Pegatron have begun assembly of the third-generation iPad and are aiming to send their first shipments by early March.

Citing a Chinese source, Japanese Mac site MacOtakara reported on Wednesday that Foxconn will take on 85 percent of the production load of Apple's next iPad, while Pegatron will produce 15 percent of orders, similar to the division for the iPhone 4S. If true, the report would appear to corroborate a separate rumor from earlier in the week that Pegatron had received a "small volume of orders" for the device.

The source noted that this year's earlier-than-usual Chinese New Year festival, which runs from Jan. 23-28, will allow for an accelerated production schedule for the next-generation iPad.

"This first lot production implements LCD's, which are produced by Sharp Electronics Corporation, and aims to be shipped at early March," the publication noted the source as saying.

The tipster went on to claim that some accessory makers have already obtained detailed form-factor information for the third-generation iPad now that production has started, with some companies claiming that form-fitted iPad 2 cases will not work with the new iPad. Though the publication's source stated that the "front rounding corner" would be the same in the next-generation iPad as in the iPad 2 and existing Smart Covers would be compatible with the new version, the report claimed magnets for the Smart Cover will be placed in a "different position."

Report author Danbo also speculated that the new iPad may be called the "iPad 2S" instead of the iPad 3, a move that would follow the naming system that Apple has used for the iPhone.

Some recent reports have suggested that a higher capacity battery could be the reason for the rumored slight increase in thickness on the so-called "iPad 3." Given that Apple's next-generation tablet is expected to sport an upgraded display that approaches Retina Display-like quality, a larger battery would presumably be needed in order to maintain the device's 10-hour battery life. Apple is also reportedly readying an A6 processor that could possibly feature GPU cores up to 20 times more powerful than current processors.