Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman reported today that iPad Pro models are currently showing limited availability at stores in the U.S., Australia, and across Europe. Is that signaling that new iPad Pro models are on the way, or is the shortage related to production shortfalls caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China?
Gurman says a check of Apple stores in the Los Angeles area showed that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 512 gigabytes of storage and no cellular connectivity is sold out at all of the stores. That model and other versions are sold out at many stores in New York City as well.
His report also says that Apple Store employees tell him, that they started noticing reduced iPad Pro inventory in the last week. They asked not to be identified discussing private product information.
Gurman speculates there may be two possibilities as to why iPad Pro models are in short supply.
First, it could be an indication of the effect the coronavirus outbreak in China has had on Apple’s supply chain. The outbreak has shut down factories in China over the last month or so, and only now is production beginning to gear back up.
However, he also concedes that it could also be an indicator that new iPad Pro models are on the way. Apple sometimes slows the flow of product to sales channels when it has next-generation models nearing launch.
Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said he expects Apple to launch a new iPad Pro during the first half of 2020, perhaps as early as later this month. He says the next-generation iPad Pro models will feature a rear-facing time-of-flight (ToF) camera system supporting 3D sensing for immersive augmented reality experiences.
Rumors have suggested that Apple has a March 31 media event planned, where it would unveil a new lower-cost “iPhone SE 2,” as well as a new iPad Pro and possibly other products.