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Apple will begin production of the iPad 2 in late February and will officially launch the device in early April 2011, according to sources from Taiwan-based component makers quoted by DigiTimes. Foxconn, a factory complex in China responsible for building Apple products among other things, were told they will need to ship 400,000 to 600,000 units within the next 100 days. Apple had originally planned to start mass production in January, but due to delays caused by the device's firmware, the schedule was postponed.
iPad shipments on the supply side are higher than channel sales, indicating that Apple is seeing potential inventory issues. Shipments should drop significantly after the end of January as the company begins to lower the inventory across the rest of the first quarter so as to prepare for the next generation of the iPad, which is rumored to feature a FaceTime camera and a gyroscope.
Apple is currently dominating the tablet computer market. In the third quarter, the iPad accounted for 95.5 percent of the market with 4.19 million units sold. The remaining share was lead by Android with 2.3 percent, while Windows and other operating systems had even smaller slices. The company is expected to steadily lose share next year, but it's likely going to put up a fight with the iPad 2.