Rumors of an iPad with a larger screen — said to be 12.9-inches diagonally — have been circulating for months now. According to news reports, citing "people with knowledge of the matter" or something similar, the new iPad could see production begin as soon as this quarter.
Now, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple has pushed back the launch of the new device, nicknamed the iPad Pro by some, until this fall because of supply problems with new display panels.
"Production of the 12.9-inch-screen iPad is now scheduled to start around September because of delays involving the supply of display panels, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren't public. Apple had initially planned to begin making the larger version this quarter, people familiar with those plans had said."
Meant to pair with the 9.7-inch iPad Air and the 7.9-inch iPad mini, the iPad Pro could see demand from creative types as well as enterprise employees who might use the device as a laptop replacement. There were even rumors of an official Apple stylus, something the company largely pioneered back in the day with the Newton, but which has been largely ignored in the iOS era.
A report from The Wall Street Journal claims that Apple is even considering adding USB 3.0 ports to the device to speed up the transfer of data, something the company has yet to do with the current iPad lineup. Also in the works is technology to speed up the iPad charging process, though the paper notes that Apple could "opt not to proceed with some of the features when it starts mass producing the device."
Some pundits have suggested that this "delay" is some sort of failure on Apple's part, which is nonsense. It's impossible for n product to be "late" when it has never even been acknowledged to exist. Internal roadmaps and timelines change constantly, which is why they are internal. Just because someone in a position to know future plans spilled the beans to a reporter doesn't make them gospel, just like how rumors of features in future OS X or iOS aren't set in stone either.
Almost all companies regularly set internal goals and timelines, building time in for mistakes and rework. Even more common is to push back the public debut or launch of a product because it isn't quite ready.
A "delay" of an announced product, which has happened before to Apple, is a much bigger deal and shows a larger failure of the product pipeline. The iPhone was in the works for years before it was ever shown to the world, and it surely faced some hiccups in the original launch timeline. The use of the word "delay" to describe the pushing of the launch of an unannounced product is certainly semantics, but it's significant nonetheless because it scribes fault where there is none. Instead, the company is being responsible and not launching a new product before it's ready.
We'll see when Apple will have this new device ready, if it ever launches, but current timelines (which are subject to change) could have it launching just ahead of the holiday season during the standard iPad refresh window.
Are you interested in an iPad with a bigger screen, regardless of when it launches? Let us know in the comments below.
Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.