IPad 3 production reportedly under way for March launch

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the iPad 2’s (s aapl) introduction, rumors are heating up around its successor. The iPad 3 is reportedly now in production in preparation for an early March launch, according to Japanese site Macotakara. The blog says Foxconn and Pegatron are handling next-gen iPad assembly, as they have done for previous Apple devices.
Macotakara’s Chinese sources say that Foxconn will handle 85 percent of next-gen iPad orders, while Pegatron will take on the remaining 15 percent. While the blog hasn’t always been 100 percent accurate with its reports, it has been right on multiple occasions, including when it called the iPad 2’s March launch, and today’s report is very much in line with what we have been hearing elsewhere. Macotakara reports the initial batches will use Sharp LCD display panels, echoing a rumor that cropped up in late December. Sharp was reported at the time to have secured a contract to provide Apple with new IGZO-based panels that allow for high-res, 2048 x 1536 displays without adding additional bulk.
The new report also claims that, as recent rumors suggest, the next iPad will be visually similar to its predecessor and shouldn’t offer any noteworthy changes in terms of its case design. Tight-fitting cases might not fit, according to Macotakara, which is what iLounge’s Jeremy Horwitz also reported this week, but the Smart Cover and most other accessories should still be compatible with the iPad 3.