Digitimes’ supply chain sources point to a possible 30% drop in iPad mini shipments, as future mini tablet buyers are waiting for the launch of the next generation.
“The lacking demand stems from consumers waiting for the release of the next generation iPad mini, said the sources. Apple has also recently adjusted its reserves for the current iPad mini, which are estimated to be between 10-12 million during the quarter, down from approximately 15 million in the first quarter of the year.”
This will affect panel makers, and LG Display specifically, as it is the main supplier of the iPad and iPad mini panels. The report says iPad panel shipments dropped to 3.5 million in April, down from 5 million last month, and further drops are expected as well. Apple, meanwhile, bets on 55 million iPad mini shipments this year, sources say.
Sticking with the iPad, Apple is facing technical challenges in the manufacturing process of the iPad 5 and iPad mini, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier last week, concluding that the eagerly awaited devices won’t reach customers until fall.
Recent information from the Far East spotted by iDownloadBlog could serve as an answer to what kind of technical difficulties Apple could indeed face in manufacturing the next generation tablets: a report coming from China says last week a fire broke out in one of LG Display’s subcontractor plants that provides backlight units for iPads and MacBooks.
Just a day after sources reported that Apple was gearing up to start mass production of the iPad 5 in July/August, a fire broke out in Heesung Electronics’ plant in Niajing, China. In other words, Apple has to seek alternative suppliers for the backlights units for iPads and MacBooks. This could solve the mystery around the “technical challenges” Apple faces.