Apple iPad 2 to launch in February 2011?

Take this one with a pinch of salt. Actually, the report comes from Digitimes so perhaps use a whole pot of salt.

But we think it could be on to something when it predicts that the iPad 2 will launch by the end of February 2011.

The reason that this is likely is that Apple is a creature of habit. It tends to announce its devices, annually, at around the same time each year.

June is traditionally the iPhone update announcement, September is the time for new iPod arrivals and January could well become the traditional iPad keynote month.

The original iPad was launched in January this year - although it didn't hit the shops for a couple of months, so a January 2011 keynote followed by a February release seems entirely plausible.

Digitimes is quoting "Taiwan-based component makers" who state that the iPad 2 will ship within the next 100 days and that the initial shipment will be 400,000 - 600,000 units.

The iPad 2 is supposedly being knocked up at the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen.

The report also states that Apple wanted the next-gen tablet to land in January, but there are issues with the firmware to sort out first.

The iPad 2 is likely to feature a retina display and a front-facing camera for FaceTime calls. It is also likely to be salivated over by fanboys, bashed by the anti-Apple brigade, but will undoubtedly go on to sell at a ridiculous rate.

Roll on 2011 we say - with Honeycomb tablets likely to land in force, we could be seeing the start of the real tablet wars.