A number of Taiwanese manufacturers of flexible printed circuit boards (FPCB) have already started to ship components for the next generation iPad, commonly known as the iPad 3, which is set to be launched early next year.
According to Ingrid Lee & Steve Shen of Digitimes, Career Technology, Ichia Technology, Zhen Ding Technology Holding, Flexium Interconnect and Sunflex Tech have already started shipping FPCBs for the followup to Apple's popular tablet.
Remarkably, although there have been rumours about Apple cutting the shipment units for the current iPad 2 by up to 25 per cent, Digitimes says that the total shipment volume for iPad FPCBs will remain the same in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Some of the FPCBs are already operating almost at full capacity which will make life for competitors like Amazon's tablet and Samsung's Galaxy Tab a bit more difficult, especially if they need to boost production over a short period.
The new iPad 3 is expected to be launched in March 2012 and will almost certainly feature the new Apple A6 SoC, 1GB RAM, a 9.7-inch touchscreen with Retina Display resolution and two cameras like the current model.
Experts say that up to 20 million iPad 2 tablets are expected to be shipped and sold in the last quarter of 2011, bringing in more than $8 billion in revenue on hardware alone.