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Secret high-security Chinese shipments point to iPad 3 exports

Apple stays mum over cargo flights from Foxconn town

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Fresh paperwork uncovered in China points to an early March launch for the long-awaited Apple iPad 3 - and apparently batches are already shipping to the US from assembly plants in the People’s Republic.

The unnamed deliveries on a logistics form revealed by Apple.pro over the weekend are said to be for international cargo flights originating from Chengdu International Airport in China, the closest airport to Foxconn’s iPad-making facility, and bound for Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) airports.

El Reg had the documents looked over by a native speaker and while they don’t mention the iPad 3 or Foxconn by name, they detail several departures from 26 February until 9 March, and specify that the stock be kept under the highest possible security while in transit.

According to the fanboi rumour mill, 7 March is the expected date for the shiny toy’s official unveiling in the US, which fits with the transportation dates on the leaked manifest.

We would normally reserve judgement on such rumours, given that the original leaked document reportedly comes from the less-than-official source of Sina Weibo user Wang Ye Ken.

However, US retail chains Best Buy and Meijer have begun to offer discounts on current iPad models, in a sign that they could be trying to clear out old stock before the imminent arrival of Apple’s latest fondleslab.

The iPad-maker will hope the hype surrouding its latest tablet does something to detract from the negative publicity emanating from China in recent weeks.

Not only is Apple locked in a mud-slinging legal dispute over the iPad trademark with the Shenzhen affiliate of monitor company Proview, but it has been forced to send independent inspectors to examine Foxconn plants as yet more serious allegations of poor working conditions in the factories emerge.

Apple said it had no comment to make on rumour or speculation. ®

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