Apply a healthy dose of skepticism to this report rather than take it at face value. According to Focus Taiwan, that also cited a local report in the Chinese Economic Times newspaper, Apple is shooting to launch iPad 3 on Steve Jobs’ birthday anniversary Feb. 24.

The newspaper based their report on sources close to Taiwanese makers in Apple’s supply chain:

After the iPhone 4S successfully took the tech market by storm, the iPad3 is widely expected to be Apple’s first hit product to be released next year. Industry sources said the first shipment of the iPad3 could exceed 4 million units. Because it is a new gadget, it is taking time for makers in the supply chain to raise their yield rates. The sources said all OEM and ODM makers have exercised great caution in ensuring the smooth operations of their production lines.

The original iPad was introduced Jan. 27, 2010 by Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs. In order to meet the deadline, the report noted, Asian component makers and contract manufacturers are demanding that employees work during the Lunar New Year holiday. This February 24 “launch” date should be referring to an availbility versus an introduction date as Feb. 24 is a Friday and Apple typically releases their major products like iPhones and iPads on Fridays.

Specifically…

Foxconn, Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer, is reportedly asking employees at its iPad division to only take five days off during the Lunar New Year holiday. Catcher Technology, a rumored maker of iPad 3’s case, reportedly said “at least some of its employees will have to work overtime during the Lunar New Year holiday.” Battery maker Simplo Technology, connector maker Amer International Group and optical lens supplier Genius Electronic Optical are all believed to have asked employees involved in the project to shorten their holiday.

Interestingly, and perhaps coincidentally, Apple has released new products on the Apple co-founder’s birthday before. For example, the Thunderbolt MacBook Pros earlier this year, and the re-designed Safari 4 beta in 2009.

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