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Mini LED production woes push 12.9-inch iPad Pro orders into July

Apple manufacturing partners are reportedly facing difficulties producing key components for top-tier models of the recently announced iPad Pro lineup, pushing availability of the flagship tablet into July.

Unveiled at a special media event in April, the new iPad Pro line features the top-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Liquid Retina XDR display. Production of the screen, packed with mini LED technology, is reportedly causing unexpected supply delays.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports Apple partners are struggling to manufacture the intricate 12.9-inch screen in large quantities. Unlike traditional LCD screens, the Liquid Retina XDR groups 10,000 mini LEDs into 2,500 distinct dimming zones to achieve an extremely high contrast ratio.

The reported display woes, coupled with a wider global chip shortage, has pushed back availability of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro into July, according to the Online Apple Store. Delays could be exacerbated by continued constraints.

Reports in April first indicated that Apple suppliers were wrestling with mini LED production issues, though the exact impact of the shortage was known not at the time. Apple itself warned of iPad and Mac supply issues moving into the second half of 2021.

"We expect to be supply-gated, not demand-gated," Apple CEO Tim Cook said during an earnings conference call last month.

Apple's 11-inch iPad Pro, which boasts a traditional LCD display, is also in short supply, though constraints have been chalked up to intense launch window interest and not manufacturing hold-ups.