Supply chain report says production of 5th gen iPad to start in July-August

iPad 3 (white, flat, finger on Safari)

As we move into mid-April, the odds of seeing Apple unveil a new product this spring continue to dwindle. It feels like we’re getting close enough to its June developer conference, that any major announcements could wait until then.

There is, however, still a rumor floating around that Apple has plans for an iPad event later this month. But according to a new supply chain report, that’s not going to happen, as 5th gen iPads won’t go into production until the summer…

Citing sources within Taiwan-based suppliers, DigiTimes reports:

“Volume production of the fifth-generation 9.7-inch iPad will kick off in July-August 2013, according to sources with Taiwan-based supply chain makers. Yield rates for key components, especially touch panels, will be a major concern for smooth production.”

The report goes on to say that the sources described the new iPad as thinner and lighter than Apple’s fourth-generation tablet, and say it will adopt an iPad mini-like slim bezel design—something we’ve heard from a number of outlets.

It also mentions that the 5th gen iPad’s display is expected to be supplied by LG Display and Sharp. It’s believed that Apple will have to go with IGZO panels, or a similar tech, this time around, in order to help slim down the bulky tablet.

It’s interesting because a July-August production ramp-up would mean Apple probably wouldn’t announce the new iPad at WWDC. So not only would it have missed the April-May buying season—when schools order supplies for the following school year—but it would also miss a large portion of the back-to-school shopping season.

Can Apple really ride out its current tablet offerings until late summer or early fall? What do you think?