Apple to Launch iPad 3 On Steve Jobs’ Birthday?

iPad with Retina Display mockup

Apple is expected to launch the third generation iPad early next year.

Apple launched the Wi-Fi version of the original iPad on April 3rd, 2010 in the United States and iPad 2 on March 11th, 2011.

So based on Apple’s previous track record, it is likely to launch iPad 3 by mid-March or early April. But it looks like Apple wants to launch it in February, according to 9 to 5 Mac (via FocusTaiwan). 9 to 5 Mac reports that Apple is putting pressure on its manufacturing partners to meet deadlines that allow it launch iPad 3 on Steve Jobs’ birthday, February 24th.

FocusTaiwan claims that they’ve received this information from sources in Taiwanese makers in Apple’s supply chain:

After the iPhone 4S successfully took the tech market by storm, the iPad3 is widely expected to be Apple’s first hit product to be released next year. Industry sources said the first shipment of the iPad3 could exceed 4 million units. Because it is a new gadget, it is taking time for makers in the supply chain to raise their yield rates. The sources said all OEM and ODM makers have exercised great caution in ensuring the smooth operations of their production lines.

To ensure that it is launched on Steve Jobs’ birthday, 9 to 5 Mac reports that a number of Apple’s manufacturing partners will be giving their employees limited time off for Lunar New Year holidays:

Foxconn, Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer, is reportedly asking employees at its iPad division to only take five days off during the Lunar New Year holiday. Catcher Technology, a rumored maker of iPad 3′s case, reportedly said “at least some of its employees will have to work overtime during the Lunar New Year holiday.” Battery maker Simplo Technology, connector maker Amer International Group and optical lens supplier Genius Electronic Optical are all believed to have asked employees involved in the project to shorten their holiday.

Are you planning to buy or upgrade to an iPad 3? What’s on your wish list for iPad 3?

[FocusTaiwan via 9 to 5 Mac]