No sooner has Apple accomplished a world-class smash with the original iPad than it has begun moving toward manufacture of the second-generation version of the device. Word is that component suppliers are currently completing the process of validating their parts for use within Apple’s future second-generation iPad. Parts, including touch panel and reinforced glass, are being tested by Apple with a view to being used in the device.

Digitimes also tells us the next-gen iPad will appear in the first quarter of 2011 — no great surprise, as that’s one year on since the introduction of the present model.

Component suppliers are expected to start delivering their parts in quantity at the beginning of next year. Apple has also begun testing ultra-thin glass-based touch panels for use in iPad 2.

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