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According to a report published earlier today, Apple is planning to launch not one but two new iPads next year.

The report comes from the, I’d say, imaginative bunch of folks over on DigiTimes – a Chinese newspaper and online website which covers the supply side of the computers and electronics industries – in a report where they cite “sources from the upstream supply chain” who claim that Apple will be releasing two significantly different iPad models next year.

Reportedly, the first iPad is actually being seen by Apple as a small update to the iPad 2. Dubbed the “iPad 2S”, it will be powered by a faster processor and will have longer battery life. This iPad, according to DigiTimes’ sources, will be launched in March 2012.

The real new iPad will actually be the iPad 3 which will be launched in Q3 2012 “at the earliest”, according to the report. If previous rumors are anything to go by, this iPad would pack a quad-core Apple A6 chip along with a 2048×1536 Retina Display.

From DigiTimes:

Apple’s new generation iPad will enter mass production soon with the launch set for March 2012, according to sources from the upstream supply chain; however, the sources revealed that internally Apple does not view the new iPad product as iPad 3, but rather an upgraded iPad 2 and the real iPad 3 will not be launched until the third quarter of 2012 at the earliest.

Two iPads in one year? Sounds like we’ve heard this story before.

Earlier this year, when Apple revealed a considerable upgrade to the original iPad (the iPad 2), there were reports of the company launching yet another iPad – which was given names like iPad 2 HD and iPad 3 – by the end of the year which would pack a Retina Display. 2011 is about to end now and there are no reports of Apple announcing a new iPad until Q1 2012.

DigiTimes’ reports tend to be more miss than hit, so do take this report with a pinch of salt. Because of Apple’s secretive nature and tight control over leaks, we will never know for sure whether there will actually be two iPads next year or not until, of course, the company announces them.

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