Apple's strategy to re-ignite its iPad portfolio isn't getting anywhere fast with a report revealing production of a rumored 12.9-inch iPad facing a significant delay due to a shortage in display panels.

The company's tablet business is already under stress given the competitive market, and Apple was reportedly aiming to get manufacturing on the rumored bigger generation tablet by the end of the first quarter. Now it's been shifted to September, according to media reports.

A 12.9-inch version would be substantially bigger than Apple's current 9.7-inch iPad Air and obviously the 7.9-inch iPad mini. Consumers are showing big love for the bigger tablet form factor, especially in the enterprise. An HIS Technology research report predicts that global sales will spike to 101 million units in three years. The year 2013 saw unit sales of 19 million.

Apple iPad sales have been dropping for the past four consecutive quarters and some industry analysts note the decline is, in part, due to the increasing popularity of Apple's larger iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, that arrived last fall and have produced record profits for the Cupertino tech powerhouse.

A study by makers of the Pocket app reveals that consumers using bigger iPhones, who also own an Apple iPad, are using their Apple tablets less. "The bigger your phone's screen, the more time you'll spend reading and watching on it," the researchers stated. "In fact, the bigger your phone's screen, the more you'll read and watch as a whole."

Some industry watchers also blamed the sales dip on the fact that Apple hasn't done much in terms of tablet enhancements except for upgrading processors and that hasn't resonated much with users.

The news comes as Apple is pushing into new industries with specific mobile computing strategies and partnerships, such as teaming up with IBM to build apps for vertical niche industries such as healthcare. Part of that collaboration involves IBM pushing iPad devices to the business enterprise.

The iPad production delay likely won't put a big cloud over Apple's upcoming Watch event set for March 9 given the vendor's first-ever wearable is already being cited as the game changer for the burgeoning smartwatch market.

As Tech Times reported in mid-January the bigger tablet will reportedly boasts a design which appears similar to the rounded appearance of the current iPad Air 2, and an approximate 12.2-inch screen size. It also appears to have slots for stereo speakers as well, along with similar button placement to the current iPad.

The name of the impending bigger iPad has been rumored to be either the iPad Air Plus or the iPad Pro, taking its lead from the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro, which has a similar 12.2-inch screen size.

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