Apple has boosted production of a rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro model ahead of the tablet’s supposed reveal at the company’s annual pilgrimage for developers next month, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes said Friday.
The device’s monthly shipment volume is now expected to grow to 600,000 units in July, up from around 500,000 units currently. The Cupertino company is hoping to achieve annual shipments of the new tablet in excess of five million units in 2017.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro model reportedly entered mass production in March-April.
Watchers expect demand for the recently launched $329 iPad model “to pick up strongly” starting at the end of the quarter, reaching its peak in the next quarter when the device’s monthly shipments could pass four million units in June and July, the market watchers noted.
As for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro model, Apple is expected to update its highest-resolution iOS device at some point this year, with some supply chain sources saying a second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro model could enter mass production in June.
“Sources from the upstream supply chain noted that Apple’s inexpensive 9.7-inch iPad is expected to accelerate Apple’s pace on phasing out the iPad mini 4 from the market,” as was rumored earlier this week.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo gave the 10.5-inch iPad Pro model 70-30 odds of being announced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference next month.
In a recent note to clients, Kuo wrote that Apple’s engineers were able to squeeze a 10.5-inch display into a form factor similar to the existing 9.7-inch iPad models due to the narrower side bezels on the upcoming tablet.
“The newly designed 10.5-inch iPad Pro will have a similar form factor to the 9.7-inch model, but will feature a larger display thanks to narrow bezels,” said the analyst.
Kuo believes that the overhauled design of the device should help improve the user experience and boost traction in the corporate and commercial sectors.
Apple has reportedly commissioned Foxconn to assemble the 10.5-inch iPad Pro model.
General Interface Solution will be the sole supplier of touch panels for the device.
The same supplier provides 3D Touch components for existing iPhones and is said to have landed orders for the three times pricier 3D Touch parts for the OLED-based iPhone 8 model.
KGI forecast 10.5-inch iPad Pro shipments of five to six million units in fiscal 2017, accounting for fifteen percent of total fiscal 2017 iPad shipments.
Image: 9.7-inch iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch piece of paper overlaid via Dan Provost.