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August 12, 2014

The Next Generation of iPad Currently Under Construction

It's a day that Apple fans have largely been waiting for, and in some cases since the last iPad came out. New reports suggest that Apple's supply chain has roared to life and is currently constructing the next generation of iPad. But with nearly half a year's continuous decline in Apple's books, will this new iPad have anything going for it to reinvigorate the faithful, or will it be another in an increasingly long line of mostly-similar releases.

The new reports suggest that the new iPad boasts a 9.7-inch display, and will be publicly unveiled either this quarter or early in the fourth quarter of the year. The sources, meanwhile, requested anonymity as the information has yet to be made public, which is pretty much par for the course as far as Apple rumor goes. However, there's also set to be a new version of the 7.9-inch iPad Mini afoot, which has also reportedly started entering production and should be available by the end of the year.

Naturally, Apple's staying quiet on this news as far as official channels go, but it's becoming increasingly clear that Apple needs to do something to turn around its faltering sales as far as the iPad market goes.  Reports suggest that iPad sales for Apple's third fiscal quarter, which ended in June, fell to 13.3 million units. While objectively, that's still good news, it's also a decline that's difficult to abide for any length of time as it may well represent the start of some very unpleasant news. Indeed, Apple has previously been seen talking about a partnership with IBM in a bid to help drive some future growth in the iPad segment. Admittedly, iPad sales can only grow so much—RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani summed it up well suggesting that, while the days of huge iPad growth were likely gone for good—but there's still potential for the maturing line to be a regularly-producing cash cow.

Worse, the iPad itself may be having a few issues in the production department of its own. One of the biggest problems is said to be related to a new anti-reflection coating to be applied to the display, making it overall easier to read. While it's a great idea by most any measure, it's said to be difficult to correctly put in place, thus slowing down the manufacturing process and potentially making supplies restricted.

With August nearly half-over, it's easy to start considering the holiday shopping season. After all, for many stores, decorations will likely start going up in about two and a half months, so the idea that Apple wants its product line as refreshed and as ready to go as possible by, say, October isn't out of line at all. Apple could use a couple of big sellers, especially as sales on the iPad line have, by some reports, have looked better previously. However, this could be excellent timing afoot; word from CEO Tim Cook is that Apple has an “incredible pipeline,” which suggests some terrific goods afoot, goods Apple will need to bolster that bottom line.

While Apple's hardly at a risk of closing down any time soon, the plain and simple is that, if it wants to hold out against its growing array of competitors, it's going to have to keep bringing out the high-quality product. Only time will tell just how effective it is, meanwhile, but if Apple can get a good holiday season going, it should be in great shape for the foreseeable future.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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