iPad Air 3 to Launch in March 2016 Without 3D Touch


KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo has released a new research note revealing some of the expected highlights of iPad Air 3.

ipad air 3

iPad Air 3 to share the stage with Apple Watch and iPhone 6c in March 2016:

According to a report from KGI Securities, Apple will be launching iPad Air 3 in the first half of 2016, possibly in March. Apple usually releases new tablets at the end of the year, something that hasn't happened this year. Apple launched a new addition to the family, the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, at the iPhone event in September. The refresh to iPad Air 2 is thus expected to come early next year.

It was believed that iPad Air 3 will sport Apple's pressure-sensitive 3D Touch technology. The upcoming 9.7-inch iPad, however, will not be able to sport 3D Touch due to supply issues. The report claims that the 3D Touch production is still below 30 percent, making it highly unlikely for Apple to feature in the upcoming tablet.

We forecast that iPad Air 3 will opt not to feature 3D Touch because of production issues. While we think the 3D Touch supply chain produced more to avoid shortages in the early stages, slower end-product demand and improved back-end assembly yield have resulted in the current high inventory. As 1Q16 demand looks to slow on seasonality and competition from other brands’ new models, we believe 3D Touch supply chain capacity utilization is currently lower than peak level of 30%, and that will last through 1Q16.

The report also forecasts that the upcoming iPhone 7 will use the same 3D Touch technology as the iPhone 6s:

iPhone 7 in 2016F to use 3D Touch solution of similar technology & structure as iPhone 6s;

3D Touch to improve user experience of touch panel long term, but won’t contribute much to near-term shipments. We think only more apps supporting 3D Touch and continued improvement of 3D Touch UI design will support increased use of 3D Touch. 3D Touch one of the most severe production bottlenecks in iPhone 6s supply chain; current inventory higher than other general components.

Apple could unveil the upcoming iPad Air 3 at the event rumored for March 2016 along a new 4-inch iPhone 6c and the second generation Apple Watch. At this year's March event, Apple showcased the 12-inch Retina MacBook and the release and pricing information of Apple Watch.