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1m iPad 3s being built this quarter, says analyst

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Apple's contract manufacturers have started punching out parts for the iPad 3.

So says market watcher Jeff Fidacaro of US-based Susquehanna Financial, a stock broker. Citing "supply chain checks", he reckons Apple is now planning to produce 12-14m iPads during the current quarter.

Last time he checked, the total was 11-13m of the tablets, Fidacaro suggested.

Many of the extra million tablets are, he believes, iPad 3s. He says 600,000 to 1m iPad 3 orders have been placed by Apple.

It's worth noting that 2011 quarterly build estimates from both Susquehanna Financial and from market watcher IDC quoted by Fidacaro are well above the volumes of product actually shipped, so we might well question analysts' expectations.

The iPad 3 units claimed to be in the pipeline, fit well within the difference between estimated builds and estimated shipments. In short, there's a big grey area, and you pays your money and takes your choice about what products will emerge from it.

Apple is widely expected to out the next iPad in February 2012, a year on from the launch of the iPad 2. Rumours have it that the new tablet will sport a "retina display" 2048 x 1536 touchscreen. ®

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