The latest "inside report" regarding the Apple iPad indicates that overseas component manufacturers--those supplying touch panel and reinforced glass--are gearing up for the launch of Apple's 9.7-inch, second-generation iPad, slated for a Q1 2011 release.
The suppliers in question--TPK Touch Solutions, WinTek, Cando, and Cimei Innolux--are said to be validating "ultra-thin glass-based touch panels" with Apple, and are expected to start shipments at the beginning of the year.
Given Apple's previous release history, it's likely that Steve Jobs will hold a press event to reveal the new model in January 2011. The next generation iPad device will then likely become available to consumers early April 2011--the current Q1 2011 release date may simply indicate that Apple and retail outlets will be stocked and ready for the official release.
Currently the biggest rumor surrounding the iPad 2 is the inclusion of a front-facing and rear camera for FaceTime support. There's also indication that a 7-inch version will become available, however the new report stemming from overseas doesn't reflect such a device. That of course is subject to change.