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iPad 2 shipping as soon as February 2011 - report

Chinese manufacturer is readying tablet, says DigiTimes

Apple will unleash iPad 2 onto the market as early as February next year.

That's according to Asian IT newswire DigiTimes, sourcing the old 'unnamed sources' from Taiwan-based components makers.

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The reported hardware manufacturer of the device, Foxconn - a key production client of Apple's - refused to comment on the news.

According to the sources, Apple originally planned to start mass production of iPad 2 in January. However, plans were shelved to give the company more time to test the device's Firmware.

The iPad 2 will mainly be supplied by plants in Shenzhen belonging to Foxconn, the parent company of Hon Hai, DigiTimes reported. It added that "while the company's upstream component partners have all been notified of the shipments schedule".

An initial shipment of 400,000 to 600,000 units are expected "within the next 100 days".

The first generation iPad has been heavily backed by prominent video games companies including Electronic Arts and Epic Games, which is creating Unreal Engine-driven RPG Infinity Blade for the device.

Originally known as Project Sword, the title will form a key component of Apple's Game Center. It's due for release before the end of 2010.

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