Production has begun on iPad 3, report claims

Apple’s manufacturing partners have begun production of the iPad 3, which will have a faster processor and work with LTE networks, a report has claimed.

Bloomberg reports that production of the device began this month andwill reach full volumes some time in February, according to a source.

The report, which focuses on claims made by three separateanonymous sources said to be “familiar with the product” also claimsthat the third-generation iPad will use a quad-core processor andsupport LTE (long-term evolution) networks.

iPad 3 vs iPad 2
According to one source, Apple wants to put an LTE chip in the iPadbefore the iPhone because the larger device’smore capacious battery will be better able to handle the power demandsof the new chip.

The display of the iPad 3 is also said to have a greater resolutionthan its predecessor, and is said tohave “more pixels on its screen than some high- definitiontelevisions”. There is a better graphic processor, too, which meansthat videos will start playing almost “instantly”, one source claimed.

Mass production began at the start of January, with production lines insome of Foxconn’s Chinese factories running for 24 hours a day, thereport says. Manufacturing will stop temporarily for the Chinese NewYear later this month and then restart in February, apparently.

iPad sales could hit nearly 20million
In related iPad news, analysts expect Apple to announce sales ofbetween 11.7 million and 19.5 million iPads for the quarter ending 31December 2011 when it reveals its quarterly earnings report next week.

Fortune magazine polled 42 analysts – both professional and independent- in order to come up with an average estimate of how many iPads Apple sold in thefinal quarter of 2011.

The average figure was just under 14 million though estimates rangedfrom 11.7 million (Hendi Susanto of Gabelli & Co) and 19.47million (Alexis Cabot of the Apple Finance Board). However, it’s worthnoting that Cabot’s estimate is more than three million higher than anyof the other analysts’ predictions.

Also, like the predictions Fortune garnered for iPhone sales estimates earlierthis month, the professionals had a slightly more pessimistic outlookthan the independents, with the average pro prediction 13.5 million,with the average indie prediction 14.8 million.

Apple sold 11.12 million iPads in the quarter ending 30 September 2011,a year-on-year increase of 166 percent. It would only need tomarginally beat that figure to hit 50 million iPad sales for the wholeof calendar 2011.

Apple will reveal the figures in a call to anaylsts in just over a weekwhen it issues its quarterly earnings report on Tuesday 24 January.