Apple preparing to launch iPad with camera

 The launch of a new, smaller iPad would expand the iPhone and Macintosh computer maker’s portfolio of tablet gadgets that has made waves across the global technology landscape and threatens the laptop market.

Makers of parts of the new iPad are gearing up for a new round of production in the first quarter. A smaller iPad would be a departure as Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs has publicly rejected the idea of such a device in October.

Apple’s iPad resurrected the market for tablet computers since its introduction in January, with nearly 13 million units expected to ship this year. That total could almost triple next year, providing a much-needed boost for a global technology sector struggling with patchy demand.

Touchscreen chip designer Wintek Corp, battery maker Simplo Technology Co Ltd and AVY Precision, a privately held maker of covers for electronic products, are among suppliers for the next batch of iPads, four people familiar with the situation said.

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