Apple Said to Be Increasing Production of Rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro

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Apple is said to be boosting production of its upcoming 10.5-inch
iPad Pro, making launch
of the new form-factor tablet over the next couple of months
increasingly possible, according to sources in the Taiwanese
supply chain.

DigiTimes
reported on Friday that shipments for the company’s 10.5-inch
iPad Pro are expected to increase to 600,000 units in July, up
from around 500,000 units currently, with annual shipments said
to reach 5 million units this year, said market watchers.


Previously, reports
suggested
Apple’s manufacturing partners had begun limited
production of the new-size tablet in March, when it remained
unclear when the device would be announced. Rumors have lacked
consensus regarding when Apple will launch the device, with
suggestions of an early April event having failed to
materialize.

However, since that time, noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo
has claimed there is a “greater
than 70 percent chance
” that Apple will unveil the
long-rumored tablet at WWDC in June, based on
the timing of production ramp-up.

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is expected to have a similar form
factor as the current 9.7-inch model, squeezing in a larger
display thanks to narrower bezels. Analysts say Apple is hoping
the device will mark the company’s resurgence in the tablet
market, given that sales of iPads have declined for 13
consecutive quarters
, with consumers seeing little reason
to upgrade the tablets they already own.

However, at least one Apple pundit has
suggested
the company could wait until October to launch
the 10.5-inch iPad, in order to avoid spoiling the the design
of the much-rumored “iPhone 8” with an
edge-to-edge OLED display, which is expected to be announced in
September.

Today’s DigiTimes report also touches on a rumored
upgrade to Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with some market
watchers claiming the device could begin mass production in
June, “with stable shipments in the third quarter”. Meanwhile,
Apple’s sale expectations for its recently launched 9.7-inch
iPad are “expected to accelerate Apple’s pace on phasing out
the iPad mini
4
from the market”, according to sources.

Demand for the tablet is expected to pick up strongly starting
the end of the second quarter and will reach the peak in the
third quarter, increasing the device’s monthly shipments to
over four million units in June and July, the market watchers
noted.

Despite the launch of new iPads this year, market
watchers still expect Apple’s tablet shipments to fall compared
to 2017. Worldwide tablet shipments were around 8.74 million
units in the first quarter and the release of the 10.5-inch iPad
Pro should shore up the second quarter’s tablet shipments to 8.9
million units, claimed the report.