Next Generation iPad Hitting Shelves in April?

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The next generation iPad tablet computer from Apple will include front and back-mounted cameras, sources said, a feature that had been missing in the first generation of Apple's popular device.

"It makes sense for these suppliers to begin delivering their goods in February," said Steven Tseng, an analyst at RBS in Taipei. "I think Steve Jobs will announce the new product in January, and we should see the new product hitting shops in about April."

Spokespeople at all five companies either declined to comment or were not immediately available. An Apple spokeswoman also declined to comment.

Component makers generally do not know what a finished product will look like or what software it will run on because they are only responsible for manufacturing one part before passing it on for assembly.

Apple is expected to ship 12.9 million iPads this year, with shipments rising to 36.5 million in 2011, research firm iSuppli said in July, reflecting an 84 percent share of the tablet PC market.

Other tech brands such as Dell , Acer and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion have all also jumped on the tablet PC bandwagon, having unveiled their own versions of the mobile device.

"I expect to see more tablet PCs being pushed out in the second half of next year," said Bamboo Lin, an analyst at SinoPac Securities in Taipei.

"Sales of the iPad will still be good next year, but I expect those running on Google's Android system to have the advantage in the long run, just like what's happening with smartphones now." (Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in SEOUL; Editing by Doug Young and Lincoln Feast)