The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has begun manufacturing the next-generation iPad.

We think this one could be put down as non-news, as it only seems to regurgitate stuff that has been widely reported before - that the new model is slimmer, lighter, has a front facing camera, has faster processors and more memory - although the report does state the display's resolution will be "similar" to the original.

Boo we say, boo - if you're gonna run with an iPad rumour story at least throw in a mention of a HD or Retina display.

The source of the WSJ's knowledge? Why it's our old friends "people familiar with the matter". We wonder if it's the same "people familiar with the matter" that spotted the iPad 2 at the launch of News Corp's The Daily earlier this month.

Now you may be wondering why we're bringing you this story ourselves, as all we've seem to have done is mock its lack of originality - but there are two key facts that make the WSJ's article particularly time-sensitive.

Firstly, over in San Francisco HP has a big event planned for this very day, where it is expected to announce its new range of webOS tablets. And secondly, Mobile World Congress kicks off on the weekend - a huge expo where precisely zero Apple products will be on show.

How very Apple it would be to leak the news of the iPad 2's production kicking off, just when other manufacturers might have stolen a bit of the limelight. We wouldn't be surprised if Apple scheduled an event for slap bang in the middle of MWC, such is its tact when it comes to these sorts of things.

We all know the iPad 2 is coming, it's just up to Apple how much of a splash it wants to create.