iPad Pro models are currently showing limited availability at stores in major cities in the U.S., Australia and across Europe, Boomberg‘s Mark Gurman reported today.
According to a review of Apple’s website that was conducted on Monday, the non-cellular 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 512GB storage is sold out at all Apple stores in the Los Angeles area, while the same model and other versions are also sold out at many stores in New York City.
Some Apple store employees said they started noticing reduced iPad Pro inventory in the last week. They asked not to be identified discussing private product information.
Gurman’s report leads by speculating that the supply constraints may be a possible sign of the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on Apple’s manufacturing supply chain, but he also concedes that the shortages could be due to new incoming iPad Pro models. Apple sometimes slows the flow of product units coming into its various sales channels as the next-generation models approach launch.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple to launch an upgraded iPad Pro during the first half of 2020, perhaps as early as this month, with Apple planning to release a next-generation model with a rear-facing time-of-flight (ToF) camera system supporting 3D sensing for immersive augmented reality experiences.
Recent rumors suggest Apple is planning to hold an event on Tuesday, March 31, so if new iPad Pros are in the works for the first half of 2020, they could well be announced at this event.
However, even if an announcement is imminent, it’s still possible the new iPad Pro model supplies could be constrained or delayed due to a slowdown in production caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China. A DigiTimes report last month claimed the new iPad Pro models have been slow to ramp up following the extended Lunar New Year holiday, although the Taiwan-based website maintained that launch of the new devices is expected “around March.”
Gurman notes that AirPods Pro and built-to-order Macs are also continuing to show shipping delays, and some Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 5 models are listed as unavailable to buy online, although the Series 3 watch and Airpods Pro were constrained before the viral outbreak was reported.
Apple’s latest iPhones and other iPads remain widely available in the U.S., although the iPhone 11 is listed as unavailable in some European countries and Australia.
In addition to the new iPad Pro, rumors suggest Apple is planning to release a new low-cost iPhone and an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro , while more outlying launch possibilities for the first half of 2020 include a MacBook Air update, Apple’s Tile-like “AirTags” item trackers, and perhaps a wireless charging mat.
Apple recently said it wouldn’t meet its guidance for the March quarter due to the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus, citing both constrained iPhone supplies worldwide and lower customer demand for Apple products in China as the main impacts on performance for the quarter.