Report: Apple’s iPad 3 Is Now Going Into Production

On the same day that Apple’s newest smartphone, the iPhone 4S, goes on sale, comes news of the latest development in its best-selling tablet, the iPad. Reports are that the newest edition, the “iPad 3”, is now in production.

The news comes via Susquehanna Financial, as reported by AllThingsD.

Jeff Fidacaro, analyst at Susquehanna, has revised up the number of iPads that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is producing in Q4, after “supply chain checks” with those companies that manufacture the iPad and its many components. Previous estimates had been between 11 and 13 million, and it notes that the extra 600,000-1 million devices represent early builds of the next iPad.

The iPad effectively created and currently dominates the market for tablets worldwide, and the latest version on the market today, the iPad 2, was unveiled in March 2011.

Hearing that vendors are now starting to build the iPad 3, as it is being called — it could, however, end up being an “iPad 2S” for all we know — could prove to be the lightning bolt to spark off a shower of speculation about when the next product unveiling will take place, and what that new tablet device will feature. AllThingsD’s initial guess for a new product launch is March 2012.

Susquehanna estimates that Apple shipped 11.5 million iPad 2s in Q3 and will ship 13 million in Q4.

Although a number of tablet makers are launching rival products, including Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) with the Kindle Fire, Apple’s current closest competitor, Samsung, has been fighting against Apple in court to avoid injunctions on the sales of its devices. It currently faces bans on new tablet sales in only two markets, Germany and Australia, and yesterday had a bit of welcome news when a U.S. District Judge decided not to impose a ban on its new tablets in the U.S. for now.