Wondering how Apple was planning to respond to a crazy week of tech news that saw Google acquire Motorola and HP give up on webOS hardware like the TouchPad? Look no farther: the Wall Street Journal's infamous "people familiar with the situation" say that Cupertino is already placing orders for iPad 3 components, including a double-resolution 2048 x 1536 display, ahead of a planned early 2012 launch. That's a well-timed rumor that highlights Apple's continued strength in the market as others struggle to catch up, but it might also mask a change in Cupertino's strategy: you'll remember that we previously reported the double-res screen would actually debut on a new variant of the iPad 2 called the "iPad HD" sometime this fall alongside the iPhone 5. It's possible rumored production issues with that display have caused Apple to shift plans around; although Apple sold over nine million iPad 2s last quarter, the WSJ says Cupertino's initial fourth quarter iPad 3 component order is for just 1.5m units, and the plan is allegedly to ramp up production and improve yields before the official launch in early 2012. At this point we'll just have to wait and see -- we'll let you know if we hear anything else.

Source: Wall Street Journal