Report: Sharp Cuts iPad Screen Production, Shifts to Mini

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Demand for the iPad mini has reportedly forced Apple manufacturer Sharp to slow down production of 9.7-inch iPad screens, according to Reuters.

Citing two industry sources, the news outlet said today that Sharp’s Japanese Kameyama plant has dropped larger iPad screen production to a minimum in favor of the smaller tablets.

Neither Sharp nor Apple immediately responded to PCMag’s request for comment, though a Sharp spokeswoman told Reuters that “we don’t disclose production levels.”

It is unclear how much of the downtrend is due to seasonal changes in demand following the tablet-heavy holiday rush, or consumers’ growing interest in the 7.9-inch iPad mini over its larger counterpart.

The cellular version of both devices hit shelves in China today, available via Apple Stores, the company’s website, and authorized third parties. The Wi-Fi models arrived on Dec. 7, a week before the iPhone 5 was released in the country.

Sharp is not the only Apple manufacturer, though; the company also buys iPad screens from LG Display Co., and Samsung Display. Neither company immediately responded to a request for comment.

This iPad news comes on the heels of Monday’s reports that Apple cut its iPhone 5 component orders due to weaker-than-expected demand. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cupertino’s first-quarter iPhone 5 screen orders dropped to about half of what the company expected; orders for components other than screens were also slimmed down.

Despite possible iPad production slowdown, rumors recently tipped a March release for new versions of the large and small Apple tablets — slimmer, Retina Display-capable devices.

Cupertino unveiled its 7.9-inch iPad mini in October, touting a 1,024-by-768 display and a price tag starting at $329. Within three days of their November launch, Apple sold 3 million iPads (fourth-gen and mini).

For more, see PCMag’s reviews of the iPad mini (slideshow above) and the fourth-gen iPad.

By Stephanie Mlot, PCMag


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