Apple may soon start production of the iPad 3, reported Boy Genius.

The news comes from analyst Jeffrey Fidacaro of the Susquehanna Financial Group. He said Apple's manufacturing partners have orders to produce as many as 1 million new iPads starting in the fourth quarter of this year. The iPad 3 is rumored to come out in the second quarter of next year. So the new iPad could release anywhere from April to June.

Our checks indicate that iPad 3 has now shown up on AAPL's production forecast for a late-4Q production start, Christopher Caso, another Susquehanna analyst, said in a recent research note. We believe 0.6 mln-1 mln units are forecasted for 4Q production.

This news comes on the heels of rumors that Apple will reveal an entry-level tablet, the iPad Mini, scheduled to release early next year.

Speculators estimate the iPad Mini will cost in the mid-to-high $200 range. If that is true it will put the iPad Mini in competition with the upcoming Kindle Fire, a $200 media tablet coming out Nov. 15.

No rumors on how powerful or what features the iPad 3 or iPad Mini will have.