New iPads, along with a 128-gigabyte edition of iPhone SE and iPhone 7 in a new Red color option, could be unveiled as soon as next month. Still, upgraded 10.5 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models may not start shipping until May or June, according to DigiTimes corroborating a KGI research.
Vendors like touch panel makers TPK Holding and General Interface Solution, a subsidiary of iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, have hoped that at least one of the aforesaid iPads will be released in the first quarter of 2017. Any delay in shipments of new iPads is likely to hurt these companies’ first-quarter 2017 results.
Several analysts have called for a refresh of the entire iPad lineup in the form of a new entry-level 7.9-inch iPad model possibly replacing iPad mini, a brand new 10.5-inch iPad Pro model and updated versions of 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro should have a lot narrower side bezels allowing it to pack a bigger screen inside the housing roughly the same size as existing 9.7-inch iPads. That model may or may not have an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, but analysts seem to agree that it will ditch the physical Home button in favor of a Touch ID fingerprint reader embedded behind the display.
DigiTimes’ sources are now “more certain” that both 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro updates will not come until May-June. Overall, shipments of iPad devices are expected to reach 40 million units in 2017, down slightly from a year earlier, the sources estimated.
More signs point to upgraded iPads being around the corner: the current 9.7 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models have been out of stock on Apple’s online store, as well as iPad Air 2. Reduced pricing for 9.7-inch iPads in Asia may be another indication.