Not too long ago we reported on some industry buzz regarding the increase in the iPad 3 supply chain and the decrease in iPad 2 screen suppliers. That dubious report has been confirmed, according to one analyst. And not only will the iPad3 include the much-rumored retina display, there also may be a smaller one in the works.

A tip of the hat goes to CNET, which apparently has confirmed a retina-display iPad 3 thanks to Richard Shim, "an analyst at DisplaySearch." According to the CNET report, Shim noted:
"It's happening -- QXGA, 2048x1536. Panel production has started. There's three suppliers."
According to the report, Apple has ramped up the production of the super-resolution screen, which, Shim said, would equate to a January-February 2012 timeframe for adequate volume to start shipping, which probably would start in March or April 2012. In addition, CNET reported:
Apple is also expressing interest in making a mini-iPad based on a 7.85-inch screen, according to Shim. That would come later in 2012, possibly in the second half sometime, he said. "If there's demand there. There's no reason they wouldn't build a 7.85-inch iPad," Shim said.
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs went on record saying a 7-inch iPad was a bad idea, but we're in a Post-Jobs world with 7-inch Android tablets hitting the scene everywhere. Apple might decide to re-engineer a 7-inch tablet if there's enough public demand.

Perhaps more important than the supply-chain buzz is the secondary confirmation of the iPad 3 inside iOS 5 code. Codenamed "J2," this name is consistent with Digitimes rumors of past, in addition to high-resolution iOS images dug up in January 2010 that are consistent with the resolution on the rumored iPad 3.

But here's what I think Apple's strategy will be with the iPad 3. Since Apple hasn't (allegedly) cut down on iPad 2 screen production, Apple may offer the iPad 3 at a higher premium alongside the iPad 2. It would fit with Apple's current strategy of the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S sales. If the iPad 2 at a lower price and the iPad 3 at a premium are successful, Apple may then consider the 7-inch "iPad Mini" as a replacement for the lower-end iPad 2.

And how does this all trickle down to the channel? Start gearing up for MDM. 2012 is going to be all about the cloud and the devices that connect to it. It could actually be the first very real post-PC year in technology.