Japanese blog Macotakara posts a rumor that two of Apple’s contract manufacturers, Foxconn Electronics and Pegatron Technology have issued orders to begin assembly of next-generation iPads for an early-March launch. Macotakara has been accurate in the past when reporting rumors. 9to5Mac says that the report is based on unnamed sources out of China. It notes that the iPad 3 will look virtually identical to the iPad 2, with the same button configuration, dock connector, and position of the two cameras. This would allow many iPad 2 accessories to still work with the iPad 3, with the possible exception of form-fitting cases, as the new device will be slightly thicker, possibly to accommodate added parts inside.
Macotakara also noted that Sharp would provide panels for the device that sport a 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution.
The report notes that Pegatron would account for nearly 85 percent of iPad production with Foxconn taking care of the remaining 15 percent of manufacturing output. This division is similar to iPhone 4S manufacturing. Some reports have said that Apple wants Pegatron to primarily focus on iPad production and run an auxiliary iPhone operation while it is vice versa for Foxconn.
Reports have called for a slightly thicker tablet with a high-resolution display said to be of a Retina variety. In the meantime, information about electronic components, said to be replacement parts for the iPad 3, are leaking out of the far east. Some of these can be seen in Macotakara’s clip below.