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Is Apple cutting iPad production to prep for iPad 3 launch?

Apple has reportedly cut production by 25 percent on existing iPad models, possibly preparing for the 2012 release of its iPad 3.

According to the report, the Cupertino company slashed its fourth-quarter orders of the industry-leading tablet — a move which many see as a clear indication that the arrival of its next-generation iPad is looming ever larger.

The cut was announced by analysts JPMorgan Chase & Co., though it’s worth noting that Bloomberg News could find little in the way of confirmation from supply chain vendors or JPMorgan itself when the report went public.

If the report proves true, it’s not likely to affect Apple’s Q4 sales. The company is still expected to ship 10-12 million iPads in Q4, and the move is generally seen as a form of warehouse management ahead of the company’s next big release.

Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Apple is in no hurry to release its third generation of iPad, given the lack of competition in the tablet market and heavy orders for the iPad 2. However, the Wall Street Journal reported in August that the iPad 3 will arrive in early 2012, and today’s report seems to go along with that prediction.

The new iPad is expected to feature a high-resolution Retina display touchscreen and A6 processor.

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