According to a recent report from Digitimes quoting sources from Apple's upstream supply chain, users will not be able to get their hands on a fully revamped iPad 3 until the autumn of next year.
The article claims that Apple will release a new tablet before then, though they expect it to be an upgraded iPad 2 model rather than 'iPad 3'. Numerous reports published recently suggest that mass production for the next generation iPad will begin this month.
Apple has already ordered 2 million units from its manufacturers and leaked information allows us to shape a few theories on the new tablet, which Apple may or may not refer to as the iPad 3. The new iPad should be released in spring, possibly March, will probably be slimmer, offer longer battery life and have a much-improved screen resolution.
There has been much talk of Apple striving for a 'Retina Display' on its next tablet, but reportedly manufacturers are unable to achieve sufficient yields of such high quality screens. This could be a reason for delaying the 'iPad 3' until later in 2012.
Apple is keeping a tight schedule on production, which it wants to be completed by the Chinese New Year at the end of January, with the first small shipments expected to start by the end of this year. However, analysts point out that Apple doesn't need to rush the release of its new model, since iPad 2 is still comfortably the market leader.