It seems like a lifetime ago that we first reported on a rumor from Korea that Apple was working on a larger iPad for education in the 12.9 inch range. In November 2014 the rumor shifted. The new iPad Pro would sport a slightly smaller 12.2 inch display and with the new Apple-IBM alliance being announced, the new iPad Pro was certainly seen as a tool to support the MobileFirst for iOS Solutions project focused on enterprise software. Then this past January there was a rumor about an Apple Pen that surfaced which supported many established patents that Apple has on record. The rumors were pointing to the iPad Pro launching sometime in the first half of 2015. Now the rumors are pushing the iPad Pro further out to the second half of the year which translates to sometime this fall.
Today, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple will delay the start of manufacturing for a 12.9-inch iPad Pro until September.
Bloomberg further noted that "Even as consumers shift away from tablets in favor of bigger smartphones, businesses remain a growth opportunity for iPads because the devices can be used for field work and as laptop replacements. In total, global sales of tablets to businesses, institutions and governments are projected to jump to 101 million units in 2018 from 19 million in 2013, according to IHS Technology."
If and when the elusive iPad Pro ever surfaces, it will require a new iPad Smart Cover of some kind and Apple has many patented ideas on this front. They have a patent for a hybrid-look with a hard connectable keyboard case with magnetic releases and another that includes a soft cover keyboard that's very much like the solutions found today from Microsoft and HP. Apple even has one covering solar panels and a smart pen pad, while another patent focuses on offering built-in inductive charging and beyond.
The iPad Pro seems like the right vehicle for the MobileFirst project and hopefully we'll see it all come together in the fall when the alliance is to have over 100 custom apps for iOS in the market by then. Earlier this week we reported twice about new MobileFirst apps and app categories that have rolled out, once again showing that the new alliance is on target to achieve their goal.
In the end, the latest rumor surfacing appears to be more of a strategic move on Apple's part – rather than a supply chain problem as is being reported.
A Reminder about Supporting Patently Apple: Hi guys. One or two months a year we remind our fans that interacting with our site ads is how we get paid. We don't plaster our site with tons of ads to keep the site clean, but we do need your participation in clicking on a few ads whenever you visit our site to keep us going every month. Thanking you in advance for your participation and support.
Feb 5, 2015: Also see our new Thursday report titled "Apple's iPad Pro will Reportedly use an Oxide LCD Display"