Report: Apple starts iPad 2 production

Apple still hasn’t confirmed that it’s working on a successor to the iPad, but it looks like the company has already finished designing it and ordering the right parts because it’s already hitting the assembly line.

The Wall Street Journal reports that overseas manufacturing of the device has begun, which means the device could be on target for its rumored February launch date.

Apple has a history of not announcing new products until they are actually ready to ship or are very close to being finished. It looks like that’s the strategy with the iPad 2; Apple will likely hold a press conference where not only will it announce the device, it will say it’s already shipping to stores.

According to the Journal, the new Apple tablet has a digital camera on the front for video chats. It didn’t confirm either way if there is a rear-facing camera. It also has more memory.

Other rumored features of the iPad 2 include USB ports and a slot for flash memory. However, none of those rumors has been substantiated.

Apple has a lot of strong competitors in the tablet market now, and some analysts already see the iPad as losing its footing over the next few years. We’ll see how well the iPad 2 does against the Galaxy Tab, G-Slate, and Playbook this year.