According to a new report from Digitimes, Apple are currently scaling back production of the 9.7-inch iPad 2 display in preparation for the 2012 release of the next-generation iPad 3.

As for 9.7-inch panel, due to Apple reportedly being ready to launch the next-generation iPad in the first half of 2012, the company’s purchasing of the panel for the existing model dropped in November, but may start pick up again as the company will need to prepare panels for the new models

The report also states that production volumes for 7-inch screens, such as those found in the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook, surpassed production numbers of 9.7-inch iPad panels during November. Due to increasing competition, rumors have emerged that Apple may be developing its own smaller 7″ iPad – the “iPad Mini” – to counter rival tablets in the lower price range.

Current rumors point towards an early 2012 release date for the iPad 3, with consensus falling somewhere between February and April.