iPad 3 shipments may be headed to U.S.

Is the next iPad already bound for the U.S.?

(CNET) - The iPad 3 could already be jetting its way to the United States.

The shipping document revealed by Chinese forum site WeiPhone (English translation) allegedly details iPad 3 units hopping on board flights from China yesterday bound for airports in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.

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As translated by 9to5Mac, the report shows that initial deliveries from Apple supplier Foxconn to the U.S. will begin March 9. To no surprise, the shipments are said to be under tight security.

"In order to prevent the cargo from being dragged on the airport ramp for too long, as well as shortening the time the cargo stay on the airport ramp, we hereby require XXXX to schedule all the XXX cargo planes from Feb. 26 to Mar. 9. to XXX slot," according to a translation of the shipping document offered by a Chinese-speaking 9to5Mac reader.

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As always, such information is to be taken with a heaping dollop of salt.

But if true, it would mean the iPad 3 is likely to debut in March but not in early March as previous reports had suggested.

March 9 has been rumored by some sources as the date that Apple might launch its latest tablet. But if the initial shipments won't be delivered until that time, then we'd have to wait a bit longer for Apple's iPad 3 event.

Whenever the new tablet pops up, sources have told 9to5Mac that Apple could allow pre-orders. The company kicked off pre-orders for the first iPad but not for the iPad 2. The sources claim that pre-orders could start on March 7 or a few days later depending on available supplies.

This article first appeared at CNET under the headline "iPad 3 could already be winging toward an airport near you."

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    Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.