New iPad production is underway – but can Apple overturn flagging sales?

By Peter Gothard
12 Aug 2014 View Comments
Tim Cook tweets image of an iMac running Windows

Mass production of Apple's as-yet unnanounced 'new' iPad is now underway, Bloomberg has reported, according to "people with knowledge of the matter".

The device in question is a new version of Apple's standard 9.7-inch tablet, with a new 7.9-inch iPad Mini version also entering production soon. The devices are expected to be available by the end of the year, with an unveiling expected at the end of this quarter, or early next.

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Larger-screened iPhones - sporting 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch viewing areas - are also expected to be unveiled around the same time, with press invitations already issued for a 9 September event. Tim Cook has spoken of an "incredible pipeline" of new products for the company.

But the reality for Apple's mobile device business may not be quite as lucrative. While obviously popular and hugely profitable, the iPad in particular has suffered declining sales recently, shipping only 13.2 million iPads in its most recent quarter, eight per cent down compared to the same period a year earlier.

Apple's attempts to introduce larger-screened iPhones can be seen as an attempt to play catch-up with the rest of the industry (particularly the free-flowing Android sector, with screen sizes now numbering in the hundreds), but what is still mired in doubt is the company's continuing ability to innovate, as it has done over the past 10 years. 

Not since the iPad in 2010 has the company introduced a device that has 'shaken up' the mobile devices industry, and as tablet sales stall while rivals brazenly imitate Apple - but with arguably more flexibility outside the company's famous 'walled garden' software ecosystem - CEO Cook will have to announce something special in order to reverse this worrying trend for his company. 

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