Is Apple prepping a second-gen iPad?

Apple is reportedly prepping a thinner, second-gen iPad for an early-to-mid 2011 launch.

According to Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair, the latest iteration of the popular tablet will feature Qualcomm chips that support both GSM and CDMA networks. 

“[Apple] can sell it around the globe without having to worry if it works with one carrier’s network or another carrier’s network,” Blair said in an analyst note obtained by Bloomberg and AllThingsD.

“We…understand the new iPad is thinner than the existing model and is essentially made from one piece of metal with no pins needed.

“[As such],  it requires a new type of manufacturing process – similar to the company’s unibody approach seen in MacBooks.”

He added that Apple would likely “ratchet down production” of the existing 3G iPad over the next two months “in anticipation of ramping up a new World [tablet].”

Meanwhile, Mike Abramsky, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets in Toronto, says he believes a second-gen iPad with FaceTime front- and rear-facing cameras could ship as early as January and hit Apple stores by February or March.