Apple has inked deals with numerous additional parts suppliers for its upcoming iPad refresh according to a new report from DigiTimes, further supporting the notion that the tech giant plans to unveil a new version of its market-leading tablet later this year. Citing industry sources, the report claims Taiwan-based component manufacturers including Novatek Microelectronics, Richtek Technology, Capella Microsystems and Integrated Memory Logic have been awarded contracts to supply integrated circuits for the iPad 3.

Contrary to previous speculation that Apple’s next iPad would be a high-end “Pro” model, DigiTimes states that Apple is seeking to utilize lower cost parts from Taiwanese suppliers in order to “compete with an array of tablet PCs to be launched by rivals in the second half of 2011.” A more likely scenario, however, is that Apple may simply be looking to offset the added expense of the upcoming iPad’s Retina Display with cheaper circuits. Such a move could allow the Cupertino-based company to launch its next-generation iPad at the iPad 2′s current price points. Apple is expected to unveil its new iPad this fall alongside the iPhone 5.

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