Apple supply chain rumors: 'iPad Pro' on hold, sapphire production limited

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited March 2014
A pair of fresh rumors from Taiwan claim that Apple's 2014 product line is far from settled, as the company is alleged to have shelved plans for a larger-screened iPad and is purportedly facing supply issues at its new Arizona sapphire plant.

iPad Air
The iPad Air is currently Apple's largest tablet with a 9.7-inch display.


The long-rumored "iPad Pro" -- a larger version of the iPad that would have shipped with a 12.9-inch display and been released this fall -- is now unlikely to see the light of day, according to Digitimes. The publication cited "lack of support from related platform developers and ecosystems" as a stumbling block for jumbo-sized tablets, with some models from Apple competitor Samsung already on shelves.

Large tablets present an inferior value proposition to low-cost notebooks, Digitimes argues, and suffer from the poor quality of enterprise applications available on Google's Android platform.

There was no word on whether the product has been killed altogether or simply delayed, and some industry watchers believe Apple still intends to release such a device. Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities indicated as much in a report last month, writing that development of the tablet is underway but will not be completed in time for a 2014 launch.

"Even if it (a larger iPad) does make an appearance this year, shipments will be low," he wrote at the time.

ASF
GT Advanced Technologies' ASF sapphire furnace.
Source: GT Advanced


Additionally, Digitimes believes the yield from Apple's new $578 million Arizona sapphire plant will be too low to sustain production of a new sapphire-covered iPhone, possibly imperiling plans for that device. Assuming the so-called "iPhone 6" ships with a 5-inch display, the website calculates that the Arizona facility's output would cover less than 12 million devices in its first year.

Those numbers differ significantly from a February report by analyst Matt Margolis, who believes the plant could produce between 100 million and 200 million such display covers per year. Apple shipped 154 million iPhones in 2013.

There is no word on how Digitimes reached their estimate, or what Apple would do to make up for the shortfall. Margolis studied customs records that detail the number of sapphire furnaces brought to the Arizona facility by Apple partner GT Advanced Technologies.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,861member

    Contrary to the report from 9to5mac that says otherwise. 

     

    Like someone in Taiwan knows what is going on in Arizona.

  • Reply 2 of 53
    magic_almagic_al Posts: 325member

    This was supposed to be the year of the iMat. http://i.imgur.com/9Tdbgrq.jpg

  • Reply 3 of 53
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,062member

    iPad Pro is an incredibly stupid idea when you consider the size, utility, and awesomeness of the MacBook Air. I don’t believe Apple would be dumb enough to consider such a move.

  • Reply 4 of 53
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,861member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    iPad Pro is an incredibly stupid idea when you consider the size, utility, and awesomeness of the MacBook Air. I don’t believe Apple would be dumb enough to consider such a move.


     

    I believe a general consumer would rather have a thin lightweight tablet than a full fledged Mac. MacBook Air is on its way out IMO. What does it do for an everyday consumer than an iPad doesn't?

  • Reply 5 of 53
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    Truth: DigiTimes is full of crap. They have no idea what they are talking about. They have nothing to back up that this iPad Pro was ever real and nothing to tell them what Apple is planning to do with the sapphire or how much the plant can make
  • Reply 5 of 53
    Was it not DigiTimes AND Ming who introduced us to the iPad Pro 12.9"? How interesting it is being reported there is a delay and/or cancellation of the device.
  • Reply 7 of 53
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Magic_Al View Post

     

    This was supposed to be the year of the iMat. http://i.imgur.com/9Tdbgrq.jpg


     

    they can't do the iMat until they release the 'delayed' iBoard

  • Reply 8 of 53

    A rumor (supply chain issues) about a rumor (sapphire) about a rumor (timing) about a rumor (12.9" iPad).

     

    Got to hand it to these guys.<img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 9 of 53
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    A rumor (supply chain issues) about a rumor (sapphire) about a rumor (timing) about a rumor (12.9" iPad).

    Got to hand it to these guys.:lol:


    [VIDEO]
  • Reply 10 of 53
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

     

    Like someone in Taiwan knows what is going on in Arizona.


    Perhaps if there are manufacturing contracts being negotiated in Taiwan which rely on sapphire deliveries from Arizona, someone in Taiwan may be in the know if indeed the supplies are constrained.

  • Reply 11 of 53
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,094member

    Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuull.

  • Reply 12 of 53
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,595member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

    I believe a general consumer would rather have a thin lightweight tablet than a full fledged Mac. MacBook Air is on its way out IMO. What does it do for an everyday consumer than an iPad doesn't?

    Rumors about rumors are notoriously unreliable according to recent rumors (unnamed source).

     

    But regardless, a larger iPad would be a very niche product for your average consumer. I have a hard time seeing a popular consumer demand for anything larger than the Air, hence the 'Pro' naming. But even in a professional environment would a large format iPad be anything but very specialized?

  • Reply 13 of 53
    leptonlepton Posts: 111member
    Golly, just because DigiTimes et al get wind of an Apple supplier making an experimental run of a big iPad, a MacTablet, or a whatever, doesn't mean they are planning to release such a device.
  • Reply 14 of 53
    schlackschlack Posts: 692member
    sapphire is for the watch, not the phone. so obvious. in that case, the same yield can probably support 80M watches.
  • Reply 15 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 17,584member
    You mean a product that was never going to happen is now on hold? How convenient.
  • Reply 16 of 53
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

     

     

    I believe a general consumer would rather have a thin lightweight tablet than a full fledged Mac. MacBook Air is on its way out IMO. What does it do for an everyday consumer than an iPad doesn't?


    LOL haven't you heard? The MacBook Air is a "real computer". 

     

    The MacBook Air is overkill for most consumers these days, and less ideal for the average consumer's desires (let's face it, they WANT iPads).

     

    The MacBook Air is however the cheapest way to get a new Apple notebook computer, if in fact that is what you need. My wife needed a work laptop, so I got her a MacBook Air. She couldn't explain to me why an iPad wouldn't work, even with a keyboard case. So she got what she asked for.

  • Reply 17 of 53
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by schlack View Post



    sapphire is for the watch, not the phone. so obvious. in that case, the same yield can probably support 80M watches.

    Not just the watch, but TouchID covers for all new iPhones and iPads. Apple was (allegedly) low on sapphire volume last year, just trying to source enough for Touch ID & camera lens covers.

  • Reply 18 of 53
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post



    You mean a product that was never going to happen is now on hold? How convenient.

    Never going to happen? The fact you personally don't see the need for it does not = never going to happen, sorry.

  • Reply 19 of 53
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member
    Should have used this as the headline and saved us from reading: "Rumored unannounced product facing rumored delays via Digitimes." Oh and stock price drops.
  • Reply 20 of 53
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post



    Was it not DigiTimes AND Ming who introduced us to the iPad Pro 12.9"? How interesting it is being reported there is a delay and/or cancellation of the device.

    Its March, and we haven't seen a leaked part or shell. Therefore, its not as close to production as they though, so its time to back track...starting with the word "Delay"...until it gets to June with nothing, at which point it will be "Shelved".

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