Here's a piece of good news for iPad fans. According to the latest rumor to hit the Web, the next generation iPad, dubbed iPad 3, will be unveiled as early as February, though the market release of the new tablet will not take place until March.

Citing an Asian supplier and a source in United States, Japanese Apple blog Macotakara reported that as Apple's Chinese suppliers for iPad 3 such as Foxconn and Pegatron will be celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year, the mass production has to stop for some time.

Although it isn't the first time for Apple to delay market release of a product, the time period seems much longer than before. For instance, the original iPad was introduced to the customers on Jan. 27, 2010, but the tablet hit the market on April 3. On the other hand, the current iPad (iPad 2) was unveiled on March 2, 2011 and only a week later, the tablet hit the retail shelves.

Incidentally, Bloomberg also indicated that the next generation iPad will be on sale in March.

Last week, Apple released the third version of the developer beta of iOS 5.1. reported that two iPad 3 code names were released - J1AP and J2AP. They might refer to a WiFi model and a 3G or 4G version of the device.

According to MacRumors, Macotakara has a mixed track record in predicting about new Apple products in the past.

The purported iPad 3 will reportedly sport a quad-core processor, a high-definition display and work on Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks.

As usual, Apple remains tight-lipped and refuses to comment on the slew of rumors and speculations.