Apple Suppliers ‘Gearing Up for Mass Production’ of New 10.2-Inch iPad and Updated AirPods: DigiTimes

Companies in Apple’s supply chain are reportedly “gearing up for mass production” of new iPads and AirPods.

According to a new report from Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes citing industry sources, suppliers of parts for iPads and AirPods are “gearing up for mass production.” The report cites flexible PCB (printed circuit board) companies Flexium Interconnect and Zhen Ding Technology as working on iPad parts, with Compeq Manufacturing and Unitech PCB preparing rigid-flex boards for the AirPods.

“Flexible PCB firms Flexium Interconnect and Zhen Ding Technology are gearing up for mass production for Apple’s next-generation iPad devices, while Compeq Manufacturing and Unitech PCB supply rigid-flex boards for the forthcoming AirPods, according to industry sources,” reads the report.

The DigiTimes report says the component makers are welcoming the new production lines, which will help them offset lost iPhone revenue.

“Both Zhen Ding and Flexium may see their shipments for Apple’s upcoming iPad models offset a slowdown in shipments for the iPhones in the first half of 2019, the sources noted,” the report continues. “Meanwhile, the availability of Apple’s long-awaited AirPods 2 is seen as a boost to revenues at both Compeq and Unitech during the six-month period, the sources continued.”

Many recent reports indicate Apple’s next-generation entry-level iPad will feature a larger 10.2-inch display as well as a faster processor. The new tablet is expected to retain the same chassis design and most of the other components (including a headphone jack and Touch ID), of Apple’s existing 9.7-inch base iPad.

The “AirPods 2” are rumoured to offer native Siri integration, sound quality improvements, and new health tracking features. A black colour option has also been rumoured, along with a possible new textured surface.

The report also states that both updates are expected to come at Apple’s March 25 event, although many reliable sources have indicated the event will focus on Apple’s upcoming video streaming and news subscription services with no hardware announcements planned.

Even if new iPads and AirPods don’t get a formal outing at the event, it’s entirely possible they’ll arrive at the same time — especially if they’re the kind of modest improvements we’ve been led to believe.