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By LORRAINE LUK, online.wsj.com / AUGUST 19, 2011, 1:28 P.M. ET.
TAIPEI - Apple Inc. is working with component suppliers and its assembler in Asia for the trial production of its next generation iPad from October, people familiar with the situation say, as it looks to stay ahead of the competition in the fast-growing tablet computer market.
The Cupertino, Calif., company has ordered key components such as display panels and chips for a new iPad it is aiming to launch in early 2012, said the people.
The next generation iPad is expected to feature a high resolution display - 2048 by 1536 compared with 1024 by 768 in the iPad 2 - and Apple's suppliers have already shipped small quantities of components for the sampling of the iPad 3. Suppliers said Apple has placed orders for a 9.7-inch screen device.
Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu in Beijing declined to comment.
One component supplier to Apple said the company has already placed orders for parts for about 1.5 million iPad 3s in the fourth quarter.
"Suppliers will ramp up production and try to improve the yield rate for the new iPad in the fourth quarter before its official launch in early 2012," said a person at the supplier.
Apple, like many other big personal-computer and consumer-electronics brands, doesn't actually make most of its products. It hires manufacturing specialists - mainly companies from Taiwan that have extensive operations in China - to assemble its gadgets based on Apple's designs. They use parts from other outside suppliers, many of which also are from Taiwan and elsewhere in Asia. The arrangement frees Apple and its fellow vendors from running complicated, labor-intensive production lines, while the ability of Taiwanese companies to slash manufacturing costs helps cut product prices over time.
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