That contradicts the rumour of an iPad mini early in the year, followed by an iPad 3 in the middle of 2012. But according to Japanese blog Macotakara, quoted by Crave, a 'reliable Asian source' claims the iPad 3 is being rushed into production, with a design change likely to cause more than a little controversy.
That change is a smaller dock connector, which would make many existing speakers, docks, some cases, cables and other accessories useless. That's unlikely to go down well, unless there is very good reason for it. It will have the same number of pins, but a smaller shape, which is where the issue is.
Sadly, that's the only detail confirmed about the new device. Previous rumours have talked about a high resolution Retina display and an improved camera for example. But Apple seems to have this one sealed up, at least for now.
But the source does confirm, that Apple is pushing on with production of a new iPad right now. Why so early? It seems that Apple is keen to avoid the Chinese New Year celebrations, which runs from 22-28 January and is stockpiling the new hardware ahead of that date.