This is according to the Wall Street Journal, which reports that electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn, which builds devices for Apple and just about everyone else, won’t be able to start production on the next generation of iPads until early 2015 instead of the planned December start date.
Both Foxconn and the parts suppliers for Apple devices are apparently slammed with the more urgent matter of fulfilling orders on iPhones.
“The top priority for the supply chain is to meet the overwhelming demand for the larger screen iPhones. The output of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus remains unsatisfactory,” one Apple supplier tells the Journal. “It would be challenging for display makers to split resources and spend a few months to ramp up production for a new larger screen iPad now.”
Foxconn already has some 200,000 workers pumping out the iPhones at one plant in China. Even if the suppliers could provide components to Foxconn in time to start iPad assembly in December, the factory may have trouble bringing on any additional people to work on the new line of tablets.
“Everyone is busy with the new iPhones, Foxconn’s bread and butter,” one Foxconn rep tells the Journal, saying that the company’s Chairman, Terry Gou, has taken the step of going to the plant to watch over the iPhone production.
The question is whether or not Apple will still announce the newer iPads with larger displays at the planned Oct. 16 media event.
Given that a new iPad won’t face the immediate overwhelming demand of the recently launched iPhones, it’s possible that Apple could still manufacture enough of the new tablets in time for its originally planned launch date.
After two consecutive quarters of falling iPad sales, Apple needs something to breathe new life into its tablet business.