Rumors of a 2011 release for the device were already in the process of being quashed by various sources when the WSJ's Lorraine Luk reported that the company is aiming for an early 2012 launch, according to the reporter's sources and information about recent orders placed by Apple for components like chips and display panels.
The new device is expected to have a high-resolution "retina display" akin to the one that shipped with the iPhone 4 last year. The iPad 3's screen resolution will be 2048x1536, an improvement over the 1024x768 display that shipped with the iPad 2. The screen is the same size of previous iPads, which should quiet any speculation about Apple producing a smaller tablet.
The company wouldn't confirm or deny the reports, which came from contacts at some of Apple's suppliers based in Taiwan and China. The report also indicated Apple plans on begin testing the device in the Fall, which is when it was originally targeted to be released.
Rumors about the iPad 3 being released in Fall 2011 - which would have been just six months after the last release - began swirling before the iPad 2 even came out.
So what else will the iPad 3 include? Very little has been confirmed by anyone, least of all Apple. A faster processor is a safe bet. Obviously, all of the improvements of iOS 5 will have been available for a few months by that point, and Apple will likely be pushing out yet another upgrade to their mobile operating system by the time the iPad 3 hits.