The $329 price-point of Apple iPad mini will inevitably attract attention of the more people than the previous-generation iPads, which cost starting from $499. However, as a result of that there may be supply constraints as the company may run into issues getting enough parts for the novelty from its suppliers.
“The new low price point is expected to appeal to a wider audience and drive up demand. However, panel supply chain indications point to an even more than typical tightness in the market for the iPad Mini,” wrote Richard Shim, an analyst with NPD DisplaySearch.
Apple is expanding its supplier base with new partners for the iPad Mini. Apple will continue to work with LG Display who is supplying panels to Foxconn for the finished product, and is adding AU Optronics (AUO), who will supply panels to Pegatron. However, AUO is having yield issues with the 7.9” panel which is limiting their supply to Pegatron.
According to NPD, in September, AUO shipped just over 100 thousand units. The production plan is reach 400 thousand units in October, 800 thousand units November and 1 million in December. LG Display shipped 300 thousand panels in September, and plans to ship 1 million in October, 2.5 million in November, and 3 million in December. In total, Apple is going to get 9.1 million display panels for iPad mini this quarter, whereas the company’s unofficial goal is to ship 10 million small tablets in Q4 2012.
Samsung Display has been one of the leading panel suppliers for the iPad. NPD claims that when one of the previous-generation iPad was first released, Samsung was the only supplier that could meet production orders with LG Display gradually ramping up to meet demand. However, Samsung and Apple appear to be winding down their relationship most likely due to the legal conflicts the two have been embroiled in recently. In previous iPad launches, LG Display and Samsung have been the main panel suppliers with roughly equal panel production.
Nowadays Apple gets displays from AU Optronics, Japan Display, LG Electronics, Samsung Display and Sharp.