NPD DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh reports that Apple had originally planned to sell six million of its iPad minis in 2012. Now, Apple has ordered more than 12 million iPad mini displays to meet the demand in the fourth quarter of the year, according to DisplaySearch’s quarterly shipment forecast report.
The iPad mini became available to pre-order at the end of October, but struggled from short supplies days later, causing a two-week backorder even before the tablet hit the shelves on 2 November. Shipping times for the mini have been improving this month, as reported production issues from panel suppliers have begun to ease.
“The iPad mini immediately faced supply shortages for its 7.85in XGA display, supplied by AUO and LG Display,” writes Hsieh.
He explains that iPad panels cause longer production times and lower yield rates because they “are known to be hard to make, not only because of the high resolution and low power consumption requirements, but also because the wide viewing angle and colour saturation specifications require additional photomask steps in the manufacturing process.”
“In 2013, it is likely that Apple will adjust its production portfolio to meet the strong demand for the iPad mini,” Hsieh continues. “We believe that Apple is targeting total iPad shipments of 100 million in 2013, half accounted for by the iPad mini, and 40 million new iPad and 10 million iPad 2, as production continues at least until the middle of 2013.”
Hsieh notes that Apple could dominate around 60 percent of the tablet market share in 2013, with the total tablet PCs shipping next year expected to reach more than 170 million units.
“If the iPad mini volume is anything near 50 million units, Apple will need to find other panel suppliers in addition to AUO and LG Display,” writes Hsieh, suggesting that the third supplier could be Century in China, Innolux in Taiwan, or Panasonic LCD in Japan.”