The next version of the Apple iPad could start shipping from Foxconn to Apple offices as early as February 2011 if current rumors are in fact correct. According to recent chatter from iPad parts suppliers, Apple has ordered in the vicinity of 400,000 to 600,000 new devices, which will be shipped to Apple from the main Foxconn Shenzhen factory in early February for an early April release.
According to Digitimes, Apple would have gladly taken shipment in January, but they are still working out the new firmware which has delayed the final production time.
As another sign of Apple’s willingness to move on to new devices, it’s believed that they are currently manufacturing more of their first generation iPad devices then they are selling. Mass producing devices before a new production run begins on second generation devices will allow Apple to ensure orders are fulfilled, while allowing Foxconn to focus on producing newer units.
Under current sales forecasts Apple will need approximately 1.6 million units to fulfill orders of 1st generation tablets through late March.
With dual cameras expected and the possibility of a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor with more RAM, if you can afford to wait a little over 4 months you could end up with a much better iPad.