updated 08:05 am EST, Thu November 17, 2011
iPad 2 stock trims as iPad 3 gets new supplier
Apple may be cutting back on iPad 2 shipments as it gears up to introduce a new supplier for iPad 3 LCDs, according to new rumors from the parts chain. LCD contractors were said by Digitimes to be making "inventory adjustments" by about 850,000 of the tablet's screens. In October, LG Display had cut its production by 500,000, while Chi Mei Innolux had cut its small output in half from 700,000 to 350,000.
The reasons for the cut weren't clear and were partly cast into doubt by the sources. Citing Apple's 11.12 million iPad 2 units shipped in the fall, they said that Apple's purported capacity for 15 million to 16 million iPads meant all the extra output above summer levels was too much. Apple typically increases production for the holidays in expectation of a sales spike.
Any reduction in capacity might have been to get ready for the iPad 3's display. The company had not only been taking LCDs from Samsung as of October but was even getting displays from Sharp, the tipsters said. The Japanese company has never been known to work on iPad displays and suggests Apple either needs new technology or an additional supplier. Most rumors surrounding the iPad 3 have it getting a 2048x1536 display that would be one of the sharpest ever by the time it shipped.
TPK and Wintek, who both supply the touchscreen layer, are supposedly following up with their own deliveries in November and December.
An iPad 3 launch is informally expected early next year, possibly in March, and would need individual suppliers to have all their components ready for assembly either late this year or early next to build up enough stock.