Apple Begins Production of New iPad: Report

The electronics world is still feeling the impact from Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) first iPad, but new details are already spilling out about a slimmer next generation of the tablet device that will have a front-facing camera, more memory and a more powerful graphics processor.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Steve Jobs-run tech darling has begun building a new version of its iPad that will be thinner and lighter than the first model, but still have new features like at least one camera on the front of the device.

The new device will be available initially through AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon’s (NYSE:VZ) Verizon Wireless, but not on Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) or T-Mobile USA, the paper reported.The first generation of the iPad was a huge success, with Apple selling 14.8 million units since it debuted last year and it bringing in 17% of the company’s overall sales last quarter.

Partially because of the strength of tablet devices, Goldman Sachs analysts lowered their 2011 PC unit growth forecast on Tuesday to 6.4% from 8%.

The iPad has faced more competition over the past several months from devices created by BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Samsung and others.

The tech industry expects the new iPad to begin selling in the next few months at a similar price to the current version, which costs between $499 and $829, the paper reported.

Apple, which has been one of the best performers since the markets hit bottom nearly two years ago, saw its stock slip 0.06% to $355 in Wednesday’s premarkets. The stock has already leaped 10% year-to-date.

Last month, Apple gave its shareholders a scare by announcing Jobs, its co-founder and chief innovator, is taking another medical leave.