Apple Ramps Up iPad Production Even with iPad 2 Near

Heading into a holiday-season battle with a slew of new tablet computers, Apple is ramping up production of its iPad, according to one analyst. “Apple has made slight upward revisions to [the fourth quarter of calendar year 2010],” wrote Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets in a research note for investors received by us on Friday.

He added that the increase “suggests Apple expects strong holiday sell-through, despite Android [tablet] competition and fears of MacBook Air cannibalization.” Apple last month released its latest ultra-thin laptops, which CEO Steve Jobs said were designed to function like a combination Mac and iPad.

Looking Toward iPad 2

Abramsky also said there are signs in the supply chain that an upgraded iPad is in the works, and speculation has begun about the specs of the new device, which is all but certain to include a camera and Apple’s FaceTime video-chat application. Some reports say the refresh may have a Qualcomm chip that would allow the same device to work with AT&T and T-Mobile’s GSM networks or Verizon Wireless’ CDMA.

Keeping sales of the first-generation iPad without camera strong as word of the new device spreads could be a challenge for Apple. But Current Analysis consumer-devices analyst Avi Greengart says that isn’t likely to be a significant issue.

“The sales trend is strong going into the holiday season,” he said. “They can barely make enough of these things.” While price reductions have been used to push older models in the past, such as the original iPhone, Greengart said, “If they were going to do an across-the-board price cut, they would have done it before the week of Black Friday.”

In addition to its own retail and online stores, Apple sells the iPad through Best Buy and Wal-Mart, and reports Friday said the retailer T.J.Maxx may soon begin selling the devices at…

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