Prototypes of the third-generation iPad are already in circulation among members of Apple's supply chain, it has been claimed.
Analyst Mark Moskowitz of JP Morgan reckons that the iPad 3 won't be launched until the summer of next year, as Apple is in no hurry to launch the device.
His comments, reported by Apple Insider, suggests that industry insiders - and certainly Apple - think that the competition are so far behind the iPad that rushing out a third-generation model would be premature.
"In our view, Apple should be in no rush. The other tablet entrants have stumbled so far, and that trend-line could persist deep into 2012," Moskowitz said.
Earlier this year, it was thought that Apple could be planning to launch the iPad 3 before Christmas and perhaps as early as this month. However, it was later claimed that shortages of key components would prevent a 2011 launch.
But it is thought that most of the components have been selected and certified, perhaps including a thinner, lighter battery and a higher resolution display, which will be similar to the iPhone 4's Retina display.
Moskowitz believes that the forthcoming Amazon tablet could be a realistic challenger to the iPad, but he thinks that Sony's recently-launched tablets will fail.
In other Apple news, doubt has been cast on the possibility of Apple launching a radically overhauled iPhone 5 in 2011 after a Chinese supplier claimed there was going to be "no iPhone 5 this year".
The same supplier has provided images of components for a more conservative iPhone 4S, which it says will launch soon, and were sourced from Shenzhen in China.
Apple Insider was made aware of the parts by iRepair India, a repair service for iPods, iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.
IRepair India's co-founder told Apple Insider that he knows the Chinese supplier in question and regards him as a credible source.
The claimed iPhone 4S components - battery, camera, home button, dock connector assembly, and display glass, according to the report - are all available for purchase now, the source said.
There has been much speculation about whether the next-generation iPhone would be a slight upgrade of the iPhone 4 or an all-new design with superior components, or even whether Apple would launch two new models in the iPhone range.
Last week, the New York Times reported that an Apple employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had promised that the next-generation iPhone would be "fairly different" from the iPhone 4, but only mentioned one new iPhone rather than two.
However, contradictory evidence was later reported by 9to5Mac, which claimed that a source had confirmed the existence of two new iPhones - one of which was suffering production delays.
IDG News Service