Flushed with the initial success of its first generation of iPad tablet computers, Apple is understood to be planning to launch a second-generation iPad in January.
There have been rumours in recent months emanating from Taiwanese manufacturers that Apple had been working on a 7-inch iPad device to head off competition from the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Dell Streak and any number of rival devices due to hit this quarter.
But according to a report from Taiwanese news service Digitimes, component suppliers that include touch panel and reinforced glass suppliers for the first-generation iPad are completing validation with Apple for the second-generation 9.7-inch iPad.
The suppliers say Apple is expected to start shipping the new devices at the beginning of 2011.
The suppliers reportedly completing validation include TPK Touch Solutions, Wintek, Cando and Chimei Innolux.
In November, Apple is planning to upgrade all of its iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad families to its iOS 4.2 operating system that will provide the present iPad generation with the multitasking and folder capabilities.
Critics of the iPad device bemoan the fact it doesn’t come with front or rear cameras to enable video conferencing. Apple’s FaceTime video conferencing technology, which debuted recently with the iPhone 4 smartphone, would be a beneficial addition to the tablet computing userbase, many of whom use their devices in Wi-Fi zones.