Apple’s iPhone 6 smartphones are so successful and desired by clamoring consumers that iPhone mania will likely cause delays in the arrival of Apple’s long-awaited larger new 12.9-inch iPad.
The iPad delay is being caused by factories that are so busy churning out iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices that they aren’t going to be able to switch over to build the new bigger iPads anytime soon, according to an Oct. 9 report by The Wall Street Journal. The larger iPads were originally slated to be built in large quantities starting in December, the report stated, but the plans have now been put off until 2015.
“The top priority for the supply chain is to meet the overwhelming demand for the larger screen iPhones,” an unnamed source told the Journal. “The output of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus remains unsatisfactory. 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.”
One major builder of Apple’s phones and tablets, Foxconn Technology, “is also facing the challenge of hiring enough factory workers to assemble the two new iPhones at its largest production site in Zhengzhou, in northern China,” the story reported, adding to the supply woes for the devices.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter in an email reply to an eWEEK inquiry about the reported delays.
The new iPhones, which were released starting Sept. 19, have been a huge hit, selling more than 10 million units in their first weekend of sales, according to a previous eWEEK story. That sales mark gave the iPhone 6 models a new all-time record for first-weekend iPhone sales since iPhones first hit the market back in June of 2007.
Preorders for the new iPhones reached huge levels before they were even released, with more than 4 million devices preordered within 24 hours of the process opening on Sept. 12. That high demand quickly led the company to advise customers that many devices won’t be delivered until this month due to short initial supplies, but those delays apparently are continuing as global demand remains strong for the phones.
Rumors about an upcoming larger 12.9-inch iPad have been circulating since at least August when reports appeared claiming that component and parts suppliers were gearing up to produce the needed inventory to start production of the devices, according to an earlier eWEEK story.
Current iPad models come in a 9.7-inch screen size or in an iPad mini format with a 7.9-inch screen.
Tablet sales have been slowing around the globe in 2014, with worldwide tablet shipments down nearly 36 percent in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the fourth holiday-benefiting quarter of 2013, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Those figures came from research firm IDC, which said that tablet sales for the first quarter grew just 4 percent over the same period in 2013. The slowdown was felt across screen sizes and operating systems, according to the company.
Interestingly, Apple has scheduled an announcement event on Oct. 16 that’s likely related to updated and new versions of its laptop and desktop computers as well as its iPad models. We’ll have to see if there’s any mention of a larger iPad or confirmation of any delays at that event.
Also notable, Apple never mentioned iPads when it rolled out the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones in September. Despite the omission, it’s believed Apple will update its iPad tablet line in some way in time for the crucial holiday sales period, which is where the Oct. 16 event fills the bill.