Hot off the iOS 5 and iPhone 4S launch, Apple is deep into preparations for its next iOS device, says Susquehanna Financial analyst Jeff Fidicaro. If his supply chain checks pan out, that would mean the iPad 3 is heading into production.

Previous manufacturing estimates pegged 11 to 13 million iPads being made in Q4 2011, but that didn’t include iPad 3. According to Fidicaro, there are 600k to a million third-generation tablets being made, amping things up to 12 to 14 million units this quarter.

But before you get too excited, that doesn’t mean the next-gen tablet will land immediately. This run could be slated for release during the early part of 2012, to fit Apple’s typical March/April iPad release launch cycle. Then again, the company’s been doing unusual things lately, making the release date anyone’s guess.

What do you think? Are iPad 3’s being made as right now? If so, are you hoping Apple will unexpectedly buck the trend and make it available in time for the holidays? Or if they do release as expected, i.e. early next year, will you wait for it and buy one then?

[via AllThingsD]