Rumor: Apple to start next-gen iPad production in July, iPad mini in November
A new report out of East Asia claims Apple will begin mass production of the fifth-generation iPad in July or August ahead of a third quarter launch, while the ramp-up for the next iPad mini has been pushed back to November.
Citing sources at Apple's partner suppliers in Taiwan, DigiTimes reports the redesigned 9.7-inch iPad will see a production window between July and August, with initial shipments reaching 5 million units by the end of September.
The publication notes Apple's flagship tablet will see an expected design change, with thinner bezels and a slimmer profile bringing it more in line with the current iPad mini.
As for the next-gen mini, these sources say production has been pushed back one month to November, though the reason for the delay is unclear. Market watchers speculate that Apple may be staggering the two product introductions as the mini negatively impacted sales of the full-size iPad last year. Another theory is that the supply chain simply can't meet the original build schedule.
With the delay, the total number of iPads shipped during 2013 could be lower than earlier forecasts of 80 to 100 million units, with shipment weighting at 65 percent for the 9.7-inch iPad and 35 percent for the mini.
There has been a glut of rumors regarding the upcoming next-generation iPads, though most point to to major changes in design for the 9.7-inch version, while the 7.9-inch iPad mini will receive a high-resolution Retina display.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been reliable in predicting Apple's product moves, believes both tablets will be launched in the third quarter, though the fifth-generation iPad will see a slightly earlier release as the "iPad mini 2" has hit development issues.