10.5-Inch and 12.9-Inch iPads May Not Ship Until May or June
The 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPads that Apple is expected to debut at a March event aren't expected to ship until May or June, supply chain sources tell DigiTimes. An entry-level 9.7-inch iPad, however, is expected to ship within close proximity of the March event.
In January, DigiTimes reported that the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPads were expected to enter mass production in the Q2 of 2017 while the 9.7-inch iPad would enter mass production in Q1 2017. The potential release dates partly line up with a recent report from Mac Otakara, which said the 10.5-inch iPad may not be ready to ship until May. However, that report said the three other iPad models rumored to debut at the March event, new 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPads, are expected to ship in March.
12.9-inch iPad shipments have been drying up around the world in recent weeks, slipping to shipping estimates of 2-3 weeks in the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan. While increasing shipping times are a sign of an impending refresh, in this case it seems to be a supply issue.
During Apple's latest earning call, CEO Tim Cook said that the company underestimated iPad demand in the past quarter and had an issue with one of its suppliers. Cook said the issue would probably not be resolved this quarter, likely leading to shriveling 12.9-inch iPad stock. Similarly, the supply issue could keep the refreshed 12.9-inch iPad from shipping before May.
The new 10.5-inch model is expected to be the flagship model in Apple's new iPad lineup, sporting an edge-to-edge display on the same footprint as the current 9.7-inch iPad. Alongside new iPads at a March event, Apple is also expected to debut a 128 GB iPhone SE and red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus color variations.