A Chinese case manufacturer has reportedly started the sale of cases for the expected iPad 3 to be launched this year.

According to 9to5Mac, Chinee, the case maker, is calling the device iPad 2S,” which stems from the name iPhone 4S, where the S notes an internal technical specification update rather than a re-design.

The case maker is said to claim that this design knowledge is based on his sources within Apple's supply chain. The Chinese manufacturer of these “iPad 2S” cases expects that its new products will fit a design that is 1mm thicker than the iPad 2.

This report further confirms earlier news that claimed Apple kicked off iPad 3 production in the month of January this year. Apple's next iPad is expected to go on sale in March. The next generation iPad is speculated to have a high-definition screen, run a faster processor and work with next-generation wireless networks. It is also expected to run on a quad-core chip, an enhancement that lets users shift more quickly between applications. In addition, it will have retina display, Siri dictation support and LTE network capabilities.