Now that Citi analyst Richard Gardner has kicked the rumor mill up a notch for those awaiting the next iPad, the speculation will likely being flying fast and furious.

Digitimes is reporting that the next Apple tablet will be coming out in three to four months — right about in line with Apple’s normal schedule for iPad releases. The Taiwanese tech site, which has a spotty record when it comes to predicting Apple’s next moves, has tapped into its supply line sources once again and reported that Apple will begin cutting back on iPad 2 production ins the first quarter of 2012. Why? To make way for the next generation, of course.

The report says that new iPads are expected to reach 9.5 to 9.8 million production units in early 2012.

The rumors could have a negative effect on Apple’s holiday sales, as consumers expecting an iPad3 to come soon may decide not to take the plunge and buy an iPad 2 now.

There was definitely some buyers’ remorse out there when Apple released the iPad 2 last March, adding cameras and slicing down the thickness. And, yes, there are some rumored features for the next iPad that would be nice to have, such as an HD screen and LTE connectivity. But, as is the nature of these kinds of rumors, there’s no guarantee than any of them is accurate.

Given the hype that led up to Apple’s delayed launch of the iPhone 4S and the disappointment that the device was not an iPhone 5, holiday shoppers should make their decisions after some introspection. If you’re the kind of person who wants the latest gadget and you think you can wait to buy it, then wait. If you want an iPad 2 right now, then you should buy it and make peace with the fact that the next one could be coming down the line in just a few of months.

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Hi-res iPad, Samsung tablet rumored for February (sorry holiday shoppers)

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