KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple’s rumored 12.9-inch tablet may get pushed back again. In a new note to investors tonight, the oft-accurate analyst said manufacturing issues may delay the so-called ‘iPad Pro,’ which was originally expected to debut this fall, until spring next year.
There have been speculations that Apple may launch the bigger iPad Pro in early 2015, however a report had suggested that Apple has delayed mass production of the tablet to focus on the production of more iPhone 6 Plus, as it was seeing unprecedented demand for it.
Kuo believes that the iPad Pro will come with an oxide panel to achieve a “high resolution, quick response, and high color saturation,” which will delay the production to Q2 2015, as it would take time for Apple’s manufacturing partners to improve component yield and assembly for mass production.
That may seem a bit extreme, but I don’t think you can argue that, with smartphones getting larger and current-gen tablets seemingly nearing peak thinness and performance, all manufacturers are facing sales drop-offs. What happens when everyone has a fast, thin tablet? Why will they upgrade?
Apple seems to be betting on new form factor and functionality to fuel its future tablet growth. According to reports thus far, the iPad Pro will feature a much larger 12-inch display and dual stereo speakers. It’s believed the device will be aimed squarely at the Microsoft Surface and similar products.
We believe that, in a major shift, while Apple (US) used to be able to use new form factor designs to boost demand, it has failed to do so this time around. The lighter and thinner iPad Air 2 will face strong headwinds in increasing sales in 1Q15, we believe; we also hold that this means that iPad, along with the entire tablet market, is faced with structural challenges characterized by a lack of new applications and market saturation. We don’t think these challenges will be easily overcome by upgraded specs, new form factor designs or lower prices.