iPad Pro gets harder to find as rumored refresh looms

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The screen really is beautiful.
But is it just coronavirus?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s newest iPad Pro lineup is becoming harder to obtain as supplies dwindle in stores around the world.

The constraints can be an indication that a big refresh is imminent — as recent rumors have suggested. This time around, however, they could have more to do with the production problems arising as a result of the COVID-19 virus  t.

“The iPad Pro tablet is seeing limited availability at stores in major cities in the U.S., Australia and Europe, according to a review of Apple’s website on Monday,” reads a Bloomberg report published Tuesday. “Some Apple store employees said they started noticing reduced iPad Pro inventory in the last week.”

Some iPad Pro models, like the 12.9-inch Wi-Fi option with 512GB of storage, are sold out in all Los Angeles stores, as well as many others throughout New York City. So, what’s causing the shortage?

Is a new iPad Pro on the way?

Apple reportedly plans an iPad Pro refresh for March that will bring improved cameras, 3D scanning for improved augmented reality experiences, and other notable enhancement. This could explain the disappearance of existing models from store shelves.

Apple typically stops distributing large numbers of existing products destined to be replaced soon. This prevents a build-up of older stock that customers aren’t interested in purchasing anymore. It’s hard to be sure that’s the reason for the shortages in this case, however.

The ongoing coronavirus epidemic, which is having a significant impact on manufacturing throughout China, could be playing a part in the iPad Pro constraints. It’s entirely possible that Apple simply cannot produce enough tablets to meet demand amid labor shortages and transport restrictions.

iPad Pro isn’t the only Apple product proving harder to obtain, either.

Supply shortages hit Apple

“AirPods Pro earbuds and built-to-order Mac computers are also continuing to show shipping delays, and some Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 5 models are listed as unavailable to buy online,” Bloomberg also noted.

However, it’s worth remembering that AirPods Pro and some Apple Watch models were already difficult to get hold of before the COVID-19 virus started spreading. And many Apple products, including regular iPad models and the latest iPhone lineup, seem readily available everywhere.

Furthermore, a recent report from DigiTimes, warning of a plunge in mobile device shipments, mentioned that tablet production remains largely unaffected.