Apple may be set to release an updated thinner version of the iPad 2 in March 2012, according to a report from 9to5mac.

Citing a DigiTimes article, it suggests that a thinner designed iPad with improved battery life will arrive in March but, like the recent iPhone 4S launch, the rumoured new device is likely to be an updated iPad 2 given the small changes.

Fans awaiting the iPad 3 will need to wait a little longer although Digitimes suggests that the device could arrive as early as “the third quarter of 2012″.

Would Apple really release an updated iPad 2 and new iPad 3 within months of each other? It seems unlikely that both rumours are correct given Apple’s track record of introducing new products although Digitimes is known to be a reliable source.

Nonetheless, DigiTimes also suggests that Apple will produce 2 million devices before the end of the year, that’s double the prediction that Susquehanna Financial analyst Jeff Fidacaro made in October.

New devices could include HD screens after Apple was reported to be testing the technology from both Samsung and LG with a view to including it in future iPad releases.

Reports in August suggests that Apple was testing its prototype iPad 3 in October but no leaks and more details were forthcoming of the rumoured device last month.