After a report from analysts at Citi saying we should expect the iPad 3 in February, DigiTimes, the technology website with sources within Apple's Asian supply chain, states that the next generation iPad will be 'available in 3-4 months' (March or April).
There had been suggestions that the unveiling might coincide with what would have been Steve Jobs' birthday on 24th February. This discrepancy between the two 'launch' timeframes could be down to the difference between 'unveiling' and (widespread) 'availability' (mentioned by Digitimes), which may feasibly be a few weeks or even a month later.
The Taiwanese website reveals that Apple has already started to receive iPad 3 components from manufacturers. Meanwhile, the supply chain is scaling down deliveries of parts for iPad 2.
In the holiday season of this year the iPad 2 is still expected to be in great demand with Apple ordering 14 - 15 million units, but for the next quarter the iPad 2 production is going to drop to 4 - 5 million units. As the next generation iPad approaches demand for the iPad 2 should drop.
Industry sources also said that Apple expects 9.5 - 9.8 next generation iPads from manufacturers in the first quarter of 2012.
According to a recent report published on China's Commercial Times, Foxconn will begin iPad 3 production in January and the activity will intensify in February, which may confirm a March release.
Apple is following the tradition of presenting its high-end tablets in spring, as the original iPad was released in April, and the second generation iPad made its appearance in March.