Apple looks set to exceed the expectations of some market analysts and sell in the region of 40 million iPads in the 2011 calendar year, new reports from Apple's supply chain suggest.

Digitimes reports that five million touch sensors for the iPad 2 will be shipped in July alone, according to "sources with Apple's supply chain".

This figure matches the number of touch sensors shipped in June. TPK Holding and Wintek were the main suppliers of these touch sensors, accounting for around 1.4 to 1.6 million each, with the rest coming from Cando, Sintek Photronic and Chimei Innolux, the report said.

Last week, the same publication said that industry sources expected Apple to ship between 12 million and 14 million iPads in the third quarter of 2011.

After crunching the numbers, Computerworld's Jonny Evans predicted that Apple could sell 40 million units in the calendar year, in excess of the figure of 36.5 million quoted by Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley, and 10 million greater than Charlie Wolf of Needhams estimated.

Meanwhile, recent rumours about the third-generation iPad have strengthened, with sources indicating that there could be a surprise October launch for the iPad 3.

Taiwan's Economic Daily claims the next-gen iPad's resolution will be five to six times higher than that of the iPad 2, though an imminent launch for the iPad 3 seems doubtful when sales of the iPad 2 are going from strength to strength.