No 12-inch maxiPads for Christmas: Suppliers 'smothered by iPhone 6'

Apple's rumored big iPad said to be delayed until 2015

All signs point to Apple unveiling a new, larger iPad model at its October 16 media event, but if the latest whispers are to be believed, you shouldn't expect to be able to actually buy one until early next year.

The invites Apple sent to the press this week said only "it's been way too long," yet most Cupertino-watchers believe the company will use the event to show off an iPad with a 12.9-inch display. If that is true, however, the new device probably won't ship until after the holiday shopping season, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal.

Sources inside Apple's Asian supply chain have told the paper that although Apple originally hoped to start producing the new iPad in December, display manufacturers probably lack the capacity to ship 12.9-inch panels in volume so soon, because they're already struggling to meet demand for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.

"It would be challenging for display makers to split resources and spend a few months to ramp up production for a new larger screen iPad now," one unnamed source said.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus went on sale on Friday, September 19, and Apple CEO Tim Cook boasted that the company sold 10 million of the things over their first weekend.

But sources told the WSJ that production output of the phablet-sized iPhone 6 Plus remains "unsatisfactory," even though workers at Apple's main manufacturing partner Foxconn are reportedly bending over backwards to crank them out.

"Everyone is busy with the new iPhones, Foxconn's bread and butter," a spokesperson for the Taiwanese mega-manufacturer said.

Foxconn, aka Hon Hai Precision Industry, is also struggling to staff up its production lines to meet Apple's orders. A report from June said the firm was planning to hire as many as 100,000 workers to meet demand for the new iPhones, and it is said to have 200,000 employees working exclusively on Apple products already.

Sources say these combined factors mean we shouldn't expect to find 12-inch iPads under our Christmas trees this year, but we can expect to see them in shops in the first quarter of 2015.

More will doubtless be revealed at the October 16 event – and a new iPad might not be all that Cupertino has in store for us. Rumor has it that the company might also unveil a two-in-one device, which if true would see Apple joining Intel's latest bandwagon.

Check back here in a week. ® 

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