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Apple media event whispers: iPad 3 shipments already en route to U.S., possible pre-orders, two new products?

Photo of iPad 3 units being loaded on planes? (thanks @sonnydickson)

Some new tidbits are coming our way as the days until Apple’s next major announcement dwindle down. The first item of note is a purported shipping document for iPad 3 units. The document appeared on Twitter-like website Sina Weibo, and it is highlighted by The origin seems to be in the WeiPhone forums. According to the image’s poster, the shipping document (shown below) details shipments beginning Feb. 26 from Foxconn to the United States. A machine translation from Weibo and WeiPhone forum posts (respectively):

Friends broke the news: Chengdu International Airport at major international cargo charter flights, cargo owners demanding security, from CTU takeoff by stop PVG Shanghai, and then directly to ORD Chicago, the JFK New York, LAX in Los Angeles, March 9, completed before transport. According to the privately disclosed the Chengdu F production for the U.S. A company’s latest products…

Received friends inside information, Chengdu International Airport night cargo charter flights, said the owner of the security demanding, and in private that the Chengdu Fu X Kang new products. Takes note of the location of the United States (ORD Chicago, JFK New York, LAX in Los Angeles)

A translation from a Chinese-speaking reader:

Our company started undertake a load of top-secured cargo. The owner has extreme requirements for the security. In order to prevent the cargo from being dragged on the airport ramp for too long, as well as shortening the time the cargo stay on the airport ramp, we hereby require XXXX to schedule all the XXX cargo planes from Feb. 26 to Mar. 9. to XXX slot.

To summarize, the image uploader said iPad 3 (or whatever Apple chooses to call it) shipments are already coming from China for delivery to three of America’s biggest airports. The poster also said the initial deliveries would begin March 9. In typical Apple fashion, the cargo flight organizers are demanding unusual security for the cargo.

Read below for more information.

Thanks Sonny Dickson

Next: Sources said Apple could take iPad 3 pre-orders. Some might remember Apple did not take pre-orders for the iPad 2, but it did for the original iPad. Sources also hinted that the pre-orders could (based on supplies) begin March 7, but they may only begin a few days later. For the iPhone 4S, Apple announced the product on Oct. 4, but it only started taking pre-sales on Oct. 7.

Interestingly, we also heard Apple could gear up to launch two major products in March. The iPad 3 would be the first product, but this second product is currently unspecified. A new Apple TV box could be this product. We heard supplies of the Apple TV are severely constrained, but it is hard to see a reason for this besides an imminent refresh. We’ve been hitting hard with evidence for the past few months that suggest a new Apple TV is in development, and what better time to launch it than alongside the latest and greatest mobile iOS device? 1080P video streaming and a faster chip are both rumored, and we have presented evidence for Bluetooth 4.0 support.

Additionally, our sources pointed to the discontinuation of all iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G models and all iPad 2 Wi-Fi-only models (except the black and white 16GB units—at least initially) when the iPad 3 launches. This would refute rumors of Apple launching the Retina Display-packing iPad 3 as an extension of the iPad 2 line, and it would seem to back up rumors of Apple keeping the 16 GB iPad 2 around at a lower price point. The iPad 2-model discontinuation information originated from Apple product supply checks.

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