Despite reports that Apple will introduce their trio of iPad models in March, a new rumor suggests that the new tablets won’t launch until the second half of 2017.
The three iPad models are reportedly still in the planning stages. A low-cost 9.7-inch iPad is expected to enter mass production in 2017’s first quarter, while a 10.5-inch model and upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro will enter production in the second quarter. However, the tablets may not be unveiled or released until 2017’s second half, according to upstream supply chain sources cited by DigiTimes.
As well as the production and release timeline, those sources also claimed that the 10.5-inch iPad will replace the 9.7-inch model in 2017’s lineup. This year’s 9.7-inch model will be released as a separate, entry-level device mainly aimed at the education market.
The publication’s sources add even more evidence that Apple’s newest tablet will be a 10.5-inch iPad Pro model. This size was explained as a logical size choice for Apple by Studio Neat engineer Dan Provost, and several rumors seem to back up that tentative size — although there are conflicting rumors. Along with the new size, the model is rumored to feature minimal bezels and no home button.
Additionally, DigiTimes’ sources reported that both the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models will run on Cupertino’s next-generation A10X processor. The site made no mention of the entry-level, 9.7-inch model’s processor — but a separate report by KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that it might run on a lower-cost A9X processor.
The Korea-based Seoul Semiconductor has reportedly been tapped to source displays for the lower-end iPad model, signaling a shift away from Nichia. The 9.7-inch’s other components will be sourced from “secondary suppliers,” DigiTimes reported.
It’s worth noting that, although DigiTimes has a decent track record of monitoring the Apple supply chain, it has a less than stellar record at nailing the specifics of Apple’s release timeline.