According to a new report from Digitimes, the much-rumored but yet-unannounced iPad 3 will only serve as an interim upgrade before the October launch of the iPad 4.

The report cites Taiwanese component manufacturers as the source of the iPad 4 rumor and makes claims that the iPad 3 will feature a full-HD “retina” (2048 x 1536) display and longer battery life, but few other hardware improvements.

Digitimes suggests that the release of the iPad 3 is expected to reduce the price of the iPad 2 to US $399, which will continue to be sold alongside the next-generation tablet in an effort to compete with devices such as the Kindle Fire which come in at a lower pricepoint.

Apple will ship the so-called “iPad 3” with a full HD display in March and then “iPad 4” – named so by its component suppliers – with killer applications in October, according to industry sources in Taiwan. […]

But a true battle for market share will arrive in the second half of the year when Apple ships its iPad 4 in October, about the time when Microsoft releases its Window 8 and Intel unveils its Clover Trail-W platform, the sources commented.

The 9.7-inch iPad 4 is expected to come with much upgraded hardware specifications and integrated applications so as to compete with an array of Android-, Wintel- or WoA (Windows on ARM)-based tablet PCs to be released in the fourth quarter, said the sources.

Digitimes have a mostly hit-and-miss record when it comes to Apple rumors and we expect that this report will not be taken too seriously until further information becomes available.

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