With the days until Apple’s next major announcement dwindling down, some new tidbits are coming our way. The first item of note is a purported shipping document for iPad 3 units. The document has appeared on Twitter-like website Sina Weibo, and is highlighted by Apple.pro. The origin seems to be in the WeiPhone forums. According to the image’s poster, the shipping document (shown below) details shipments beginning February 26th from Foxconn to the United States. Machine translations from Weibo and WeiPhone forum posts (respectively):
Friends broke the news: Chengdu International Airport at major international cargo charter flights, cargo owners demanding security, from CTU takeoff by stop PVG Shanghai, and then directly to ORD Chicago, the JFK New York, LAX in Los Angeles, March 9, completed before transport. According to the privately disclosed the Chengdu F production for the U.S. A company’s latest products…
Received friends inside information, Chengdu International Airport night cargo charter flights, said the owner of the security demanding, and in private that the Chengdu Fu X Kang new products. Takes note of the location of the United States (ORD Chicago, JFK New York, LAX in Los Angeles)
A translation from a Chinese-speaking reader:
Our company started undertake a load of top-secured cargo. The owner has extreme requirements for the security. In order to prevent the cargo from being dragged on the airport ramp for too long, as well as shortening the time the cargo stay on the airport ramp, we hereby require XXXX to schedule all the XXX cargo planes from Feb. 26 to Mar. 9. to XXX slot.
To summarize, the image uploader says iPad 3 (or whatever Apple chooses to call it) shipments are already coming out of China for delivery in three of America’s biggest airports. The poster also apparently says that initial deliveries will be made by Friday, March 9th. In typical Apple fashion, the cargo flight organizers are demanding unusual security for the cargo.
Next, sources are saying that Apple could take iPad 3 pre-orders. Some may remember that Apple did not take pre-orders for the iPad 2, but did for the original iPad. Sources are also hinting that these pre-orders could (based on supplies) begin as soon as March 7, but may only begin a few days later. For the iPhone 4S, Apple announced the product on October 4, but only started taking pre-sales on October 7.
Interestingly, we’re also hearing that Apple could be gearing up to launch two major products in the month of March. The iPad 3 would be the first product, but this second product is currently unspecified. A new Apple TV box could be this product. We’ve been hearing that supplies of the Apple TV are severely constrained, but it’s hard to see a reason for this besides an imminent refresh. We’ve been hitting hard with evidence for the past few months that suggests a new Apple TV is in development, and what better time to launch it than alongside the latest and greatest mobile iOS device? 1080P video streaming and a faster chip have both been rumored, and we’ve presented our own evidence for Bluetooth 4.0 support.
Additionally, our sources are pointing to the discontinuation of all iPad 2 WiFi + 3G models and all iPad 2 WiFi-only models (except the black and white 16GB units – at least initially) when the iPad 3 launches. This would refute rumors of Apple launching the Retina Display-packing iPad 3 as an extension of the iPad 2 line, and would seem to back up rumors of Apple keeping the 16 GB iPad 2 around at a lower price point. This iPad 2 model discontinuation information is based on Apple product supply checks.