Let’s make it clear: DigiTimes has been coming up with a lot of pretty far out predictions lately. The publication’s accuracy and reliability – at least when it comes to reporting Apple rumors – has been disputed more and more. Now, with that off our chest, the latest tidbit from this Asian trade publication is intriguing.

Apart from claiming that Apple commissioned contract manufacturer Pegatron to produce a small volume of high-resolution iPad 3 units ahead of a March launch and an initial volume of about 7 to 10 million iPad 4 units for an October launch, “Sources from the upstream supply chain” told DigiTimes that Apple is changing its outsourcing strategy as well:

The sources pointed out that Apple will also start changing its outsourcing strategy and will have Pegatron primarily focus on production of the iPad series products with production of the iPhone series products as an auxiliary in 2013, while the strategy for Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) is vice versa.

According to the story, Apple representatives visited Pegatron’s plants in China “several times recently.” A reshuffling in Apple’s supply chain would not be unheard of…

For starters, Apple is well known for dispersing risk by pitting several suppliers and contract manufacturers against each other and distributing orders among them. Such an aggressive supply chain management is attributed to Apple CEO Tim Cook who, upon Jobs return to Apple from exile, became the mastermind behind Apple’s well-oiled manufacturing and distribution machine. He was responsible for cutting major deals with suppliers left and right and attributed with locking key components several years in advance by taking advantage of Apple’s billions in the bank. The strategy would prove indispensable for years to come and would come in light during Apple’s handling of the Taiwan flood crisis when many PC vendors could not fulfill orders even though Apple’s manufacturing machine kept chugging along as if nothing had happened.

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