Report: Apple to delay production of 12.9-inch iPad to meet iPhone demand

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has pushed the start of production for a larger iPad tablet with a 12.9-inch screen to early next year so that its suppliers can keep up with demand for Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phablet, according to a Wall Street Journal article. Meanwhile, Apple sent out invitations to a media event on Oct 16, where the company is widely expected to unveil updated versions of its iPads alongside new desktop and laptop computers.

According to the Journal report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, Apple had originally planned to have its suppliers start producing the larger iPad in large volumes starting in December. However, suppliers like Foxconn are struggling to keep up with demand for Apple's newest iPhones, the report said. Apple declined to comment, according to the report.

"The top priority for the supply chain is to meet the overwhelming demand for the larger screen iPhones. The output of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus remains unsatisfactory," an unnamed source at a supplier told the WSJ. "It would be challenging for display makers to split resources and spend a few months to ramp up production for a new larger screen iPad now."

While the Journal said production of the larger iPad would start in December, Bloomberg reported in August that Apple would start production of the new device by the first quarter of 2015. Apple's standard iPad has a 9.7-inch display and the iPad mini has a 7.9-inch screen. In July, the Journal reported that that Apple was working on a larger iPad with a screen slightly smaller than 13 inches.

The report comes as Apple's share of the tablet market is shrinking despite growth in the overall market. According to research firm IDC, the global tablet market grew 11 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2014 with shipments reaching 49.3 million units. However, while Apple still leads the market, it saw its market share slip year-over-year from 33 percent to 26.9 percent in the second quarter. Rival Samsung Electronics saw its market share fall too, from 18.8 percent to 17.2 percent. Meanwhile, lower-cost rivals Lenovo and Asus gained share.

It's unclear if Apple will reveal the larger iPad at the Oct. 16 event. According to 9to5Mac, Apple will likely announce a new version of the iPad Air, which will be slightly thinner, have a new A8 processor, the M8 motion co-processor chip from the iPhone 6, a Touch ID fingerprint scanner, a better camera and potentially a gold variant. A new version of the iPad mini is expected to have some if not all of those new features.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this 9to5Mac article
- see this CNET article
- see this The Verge article

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