Apple's 13-inch iPad suffers production delays

Will manufacturing delays of a large iPad model impact on Apple's push into the enterprise market?

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Apple
Apple's rumored 12.9-inch iPad tablet model's production, aimed at breathing new life into sales, has been delayed.

According to Bloomberg, which cited people with knowledge of the matter, the tech giant originally planned to begin producing the new iPad this quarter. However, Apple will now begin production of the new iPad in September this year.

The publication says that the supply of suitable display panels have caused the delay.

Apple currently offers the original iPad tablet as a 9.7-inch model, and the iPad mini sports a 7.9-inch screen. The company has endured stagnant sales of the product, selling less than expected in the fiscal year's first quarter, and so a new screen size may help invigorate interest in the line -- and potentially could appeal to the business market.

See also: Apple Q1: 74M iPhones sold in "record" quarter, as earnings beat expectations

If rumors surrounding the device are correct, a 12.9-inch model may become a go-to for business users seeking a lighter and more portable version of their laptops while on the road.

In February this year, UBS analyst Steve Milunovich said in a note to investors a larger iPad could "play into the enterprise push," especially in light of Apple's deal with IBM.

Last year, Apple announced a partnership with IBM in an enterprise pact which has seen both companies working on iOS enterprise and industry applications. As part of the IBM MobileFirst for iOS portfolio, the companies have released more than 22 apps so far, including the insurance-based Retention app, the Expert Tech field telecommunications app, governmental Case Advice app and Incident Aware, an application designed for emergency situations. However, over 100 are slated for eventual development and release to the corporate community.

Customers of the IBM-Apple portfolio include Citi, Air Canada and Sprint.

Milunovich said there is "upside potential" to the partnership "given the importance of mobile to IBM and enterprise to Apple." IBM supplies a ready-made market and distribution channel for Apple, while in return, Apple provides a mobile channel and app development. As business models shift rapidly to include mobile technology, the IBM-Apple partnership -- coupled with a larger iPad model designed to take on rival large-screen products such as Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 -- could be crucial for both companies to push for and maintain a strong hold on the enterprise market.

In Apple's Q1 conference call, CEO Tim Cook said he is "very optimistic" over the iPad's future. A push into the corporate sector could turn out to be its saving grace.

Read on: In the enterprise

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