China's Commercial Times reported Monday (via Google Translate) that iPad 2 production will begin in February in a "small pilot." But the company's shipments for the second quarter of calendar 2011 are expected to grow significantly, and may even exceed the peak seen by the first-generation iPad in the fourth quarter of 2010.
If true, the report would contradict earlier rumors that pegged partners to begin production of the iPad 2 in January. Still, a February production date would keep the device on track for rumors of an April launch.
Monday's report claims that Foxconn will remain the largest manufacturing partner of Apple, while other usual suppliers like Pegatron will also be involved in creation of the device.
The report also went on to say that Apple's partners are expected to begin "volume production" of the fifth-generation iPhone in May. Apple typically releases a new iPhone every June in keeping with its annual refresh cycle.
Strangely, the report also noted that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is not expected to attend the Macworld Conference on Jan. 26 for health reasons. The translated report incorrectly refers to the conference as "Apple's." Apple's final appearance at the Macworld expo came in 2009.