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Apple's iPad 2 lineup.Apple’s iPad 2 lineup.

(Credit: Apple)

We could see not just two new iPads, but two separate product launches this year, assuming you believe the latest report from the rumor-a-minute Taiwanese news site DigiTimes.

Citing component makers, DigiTimes says that Apple is gearing up on parts for two separate iPad releases this year, with one taking place in March and another sometime in October.

If those dates sound familiar, they are. Last year Apple released the iPad 2 in March, with October bringing the unveiling and release of the iPhone 4S.

DigiTimes makes the rather bold claim that the two models will be successive, with the March release bringing the “iPad 3,” and October the “iPad 4.” That’s an unusually short gap for any manufacturer, let alone Apple. DigiTimes counters that by saying that the March release will come in time to “fend off competition” from lower-priced tablets entering the market, and that the sequential release later in the year will be to counter Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Intel’s Clover Trail silicon, which will be aimed at tablets.

So what’s the difference between the two tablets supposed to be? DigiTimes once again claims that the iPad 3 will sport a high definition display and bring longer battery life–both of which have been rumored numerous times before. In the case of the display, some were even expecting it to arrive with the second-generation iPad model. As for the iPad 4, the details offered are extremely vague, with DigiTimes saying it will have “much upgraded hardware specifications and integrated applications.”

The report is reminiscent of one the outlet passed along last month, in which it claimed Apple was planning two new models to run alongside the existing iPad 2. However, that report claimed both of those devices were coming at Macworld’s iWorld conference later this month, an idea that was publicly refuted, but never retracted. More recently Apple has been said to be planning its own news event later this month, but one that will not involve the iPad, focusing instead on the company’s efforts in publishing and education.

The question of what Apple will add to its third-generation tablet, and when it will unveil the thing, remains of high interest. The product is one of the few that Apple has announced and launched following the holiday season–the iPad 2 went on sale in early March last year, while the first iPad launched in April the year before. This latest report from DigiTimes suggests that Apple may be looking to change that timeline.

This two-model claim joins a handful of tablet-related rumors posted by iLounge yesterday, one of which included the suggestion that Apple was looking to add a higher quality camera to its next-generation tablet.

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