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Apple won't start manufacturing 'iPad Pro' until September, say reports

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12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display expected to ship in Q2

"Delays involving the supply of display panels" have resulted in Apple pushing back manufacturing of its oft-rumored "iPad Pro" to sometime in September, according to reports published by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. The company had initially hoped to kick off production of its largest iPad yet this quarter, according to the reports. If Apple sticks to its established cycle of announcing new iPad hardware, it's possible the larger tablet could still be unveiled sometime in October or in the weeks thereafter — though the display issues mentioned by Bloomberg could constrain supply.

The Wall Street Journal says Apple is working out whether to add new features to its larger iPad, but is still uncertain about its design. One of the publication's sources said that the company is considering adding a range of ports to the device: ports that would support mouse and keyboard to allow the device to be used as an ersatz laptop, and a USB 3.0 port, in order to speed up data transfer. The Wall Street Journal's sources also claimed that Apple was working on technology to speed the rumored iPad's charging time.

The Wall Street Journal says Apple is still considering new features

Rumors of an iPad Pro with a 12.9-inch display have persisted for months, with many expecting the device to slot in between tablets and Apple's MacBook line with more powerful hardware and productivity-focused refinements like improved multitasking. Apple has never confirmed plans for such a product, though its introduction could help boost iPad sales, which have been on the decline year over year. "The upgrade cycle is longer," Cook said during Apple's most recent investor call. "It's longer than an iPhone, probably between an iPhone and a PC. We haven't been in the business long enough to say that with certainty, but that's what we think."

Cook also acknowledged it's possible that popularity around the phablet iPhone 6 Plus is cannibalizing iPad sales. "When I back up I believe that over the long arc of time that the iPad is a great business," he said in January. "I also have visibility obviously to what's in the pipeline and feel very, very good about that." Apple's current iPad Air 2 has a 9.7-inch display, with the smaller iPad mini 3 featuring a 7.9-inch screen.

Update 1:15AM, March 5th: Updated with information from The Wall Street Journal's report.