Rumors have been going around for the past two weeks noting that the next generation iPads are on their way to the U.S. from Chinese plants under strict security.

Now Mac Rumors is reporting that shipping representatives for other firms are finding that they can’t ship their products, as air freight companies are apparently overwhelmed with boxes of iPads.

Shipping rates have increased by 20 percent in one week, with Apple apparently gobbling up as much air freight capacity as possible at premium rates. One supposed iPad 3 part number has allegedly made it to the U.S., while another Apple SKU — MC744LL/A — for an unknown product (new Apple TV?) is also making the rounds.

Another Apple blog, AppleInsider, concurred with the information from Mac Rumors, noting that air cargo rates with DHL have also jumped due to capacity constraints that are presumably being caused by Apple.

With shipments in high gear already, there’s mounting evidence that the new iPad may be available very soon after the announcement on Wednesday. Apple fans had to wait two weeks after the announcement of the iPad 2 to receive the first devices; perhaps the wait won’t be as long this time.

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