Wait for 2021 iPad Pro stretches out months

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Wait for 2021 iPad Pro stretches out months
Demand for the 2021 iPad Pro far outstrips supply.
Photo: Apple

Order the 12.9-inch version of the 2021 iPad Pro today and it won‘t arrive before late June. And maybe not until July. Apple started taking pre-orders for the first M1-powered tablet on Friday, and anyone who didn’t move quickly could wait almost 10 weeks for the device.

The delay is apparently caused by the new mini-LED screen.

2021 iPad Pro anticipation

The online Apple Store shows a base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage ordered on May 2 will be delivered between June 25 and July 9. Even increasing the specs all the way up to 16GB/2TB doesn’t affect the projected release date.

Every pre-order has to be shipped. Apple doesn’t give buyers the option to pick the device up in its retail stores. And that raises questions of there’ll be any stock in Apple Stores on launch date, May 21.

Going with another retailer doesn’t seem to be a better option. At this point, Amazon apparently can’t even pin down a general delivery window for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The online store tells customers, “Order now and we’ll notify you by email when we have an estimated delivery date for this item.” Others are on the same situation. Best Buy’s ordering page says, “Order now and we’ll notify you when it will be ready to ship after a Release Day is announced.” B&H notes, “Ship Time: Not available.”

It’s all about the mini-LED display

The situation is different when ordering the 11-inch version of the tablet. An order placed May 2 for this iteration of the 2021 iPad Pro arrives between May 24 and May 28.

When Apple unveiled the product in mid-April, it set the launch date as May 21. The reason for the pre-release delay wasn’t revealed, but it could be related to global chip shortages.

The first iMac with an M1 processor was revealed at the same time as the new iPadOS tablet, and its launch also was delayed until May 21 with pre-orders beginning last Friday. After the first rush, some configurations of this Mac desktop ordered May 2 won‘t be delivered until mid-June.

But the longest delays are for the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Which points a finger at its unique feature: the mini-LED screen. The 11-inch version doesn’t have one. Neither does the new iMac

The new type of display is an improved version of LCD that uses many more tiny backlights. In the new tablet, they’ll provide a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. For comparison, the 2020 and 2018 versions of the computer offer a contrast ratio of about 1700:1. In less technical terms, the new screen offers blacker blacks and whiter whites.

Combine that with the M1 processor, the same chip that powers the latest Mac desktops and laptops, and the result is a computer people are apparently willing to wait months for.

We knew this was coming

During a conference call last week with investors, Apple warned of delays in shipping products. The company says supply constraints will cause revenue in the April-to-June quarter to be $3 billion to $4 billion less than it otherwise would have been.

And Bloomberg reported that the companies manufacturing the the mini-LED panel for the 2021 iPad Pro have been struggling with poor manufacturing yields.  So a long wait for the tablet isn’t a momentary blip due to high demand.

Those wanting the new tablet by autumn might consider ordering soon.