While many anticipate Apple to release a larger 12.9-inch iPad early next year, the company may be forced to push back launch until the second quarter, one analyst says.
According to a research note obtained by AppleInsider, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the 12.9-inch tablet, which some have taken to calling the "iPad Pro," will not be ready in time for a first quarter debut as many expect.
Kuo says Apple is employing oxide LCD technology for the larger iPad's high resolution display, affording quick response times and high color saturation. The company most recently deployed a large-format 27-inch oxide TFT panel in the iMac with Retina 5K display. Citing a time crunch on component production and assembly, the analyst doesn't expect iPad Pro to enter mass production until the second quarter of 2015 at the earliest.
As for current iPad models, Kuo expects overall shipments to fall dramatically in the first quarter of 2015, despite Apple's recent iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 releases. For the three-month period ending in March, a seasonal drop in sales and tablet market saturation will drive iPad shipments down to 9.8 million total units, a fall of 54.5 percent quarter-over-quarter, he said.
Kuo believes Apple has failed to boost demand with its new iPad Air 2 form factor, a major shift from previous generations that saw increased consumer interest with each successive design iteration. With proliferation in the marketplace, tablet makers could be facing an uphill battle that may not be easily surmounted with simple spec bumps, new form factors or price cuts.
To deal with an over-saturated consumer market, Apple recently ramped up its efforts in enterprise sales, with reports saying the company is fielding a sales team dedicated to wooing the interest of big corporations. Apple also partnered with IBM to deliver industry-specific software and services using iOS hardware.