Asia is on a roll regarding a rumored iPad 2 hardware refresh. On Tuesday, Taiwanese trade publication Digitimes reported about Apple’s purported plans to expand on the current iPad offering of WiFi and WiFi+3G models with a brand new CDMA model.

The Cupertino company will assemble about half a million iPad 2 units in January, with the shipment ratio of Wi-Fi, UMTS and CDMA models at 3:4:3. The official iPad 2 launch is expected at the end of the first quarter, sources said and added the remaining iPad inventory should be enough to fill the gap between January and April of next year.

This shift towards iPad models that connect to mobile Internet is expected, sources told Digitimes, because UMTS iPads amount to about 60-65 percent of current shipments:

Consumers prefer models that are able to connect to the Internet all the time, therefore Apple is aiming to work even more closely with telecom carriers by offering more wireless solutions for iPad 2 to satisfy market demand.

A special scree coating is also being engineered to reduce screen glare and finger smudges, plugged-in sources asserted.


Mockup: Brightsideofnews.com

Although Digitimes has long been in the business, they’ve emerged lately as the go-to source for iPad 2 rumors. Their report from yesterday alleged that Apple is ramping up Q1 2011 iPhone manufacturing to 21 million units, which apparently includes about six million CDMA iPhones to be launched on the Verizon network in North America and in Asia Pacific in the first quarter of next year.

Digitimes previously asserted that iPad 2 is hundred days away from shipping and other publications chimed in with claims that the gizmo will include a slimmer design, two cameras, and a wide-band speaker. Established news organizations like Reuters also jumped on the bandwagon to name supposed iPad 2 suppliers.

Source: Digitimes