At a time when rumors surrounding a smaller iPad, presumably called the “iPad mini,” are getting traction day by day with multiple reports suggesting that Apple is just days away from releasing the device, a new report surfaced online Monday saying that Apple’s Asian component suppliers had received official orders to produce millions of units for the latter half of this year.
On the heels of a last week’s report claiming that mass production of the iPad mini has begun already at Apple's suppliers in China, the Wall Street Journal came up with yet another report Monday, which said that the Cupertino tech giant had already ordered “some component suppliers to Apple in Asia, including in Taiwan” to produce more than 10 million iPad minis for the fourth quarter of 2012.
The report also stated that the initial order for 10 million units of the iPad mini by Apple roughly doubles the size of orders that Amazon had placed for its Kindle Fire tablets for the same quarter.
“The figure indicates that Apple believes demand for the product will be strong, despite stiff competition in the market,” said the report.
Last quarter, Apple sold a total of 17 million iPads, up 84 percent from the previous year. With that in mind, 10 million iPad minis could give a significant boost to the company’s expected overall iPad sales this holiday quarter. On top of that, if the smaller iPad indeed becomes a reality, it will be tough competitor to current market leaders like Amazon’s smaller Kindle tablets and Google’s Nexus 7.
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The Next Web cited investment bank Deutsche Bank that said in a note to investors last month that the iPad mini would be a “high volume, installed base and ecosystem driver.” Although anticipating that the device wouldn’t have a big impact on Apple’s end result when compared to the iPhone, the bank did mention that as many as 18 million iPads could be sold in the third quarter and 24 million more in the December quarter of 2012.
In addition, there were reports saying that Apple’s supply chain is having a tough time producing the smaller iPad due to yield issues.
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said in a note to investors last week that producing the rumored iPad mini in response to rival 7-inch tablets, powered by Google’s Android operating system, was “no walk in the park for suppliers.” Sources said that yield issues with a number of iPad mini components had been “frustrating” for suppliers and that these concerns could create “supply constraints” once the device launches.
However, White estimated that Apple sell 5–7 million iPad minis in the December quarter.
According to rumors, the iPad mini will feature a 7.85-inch screen. It’s likely to have a lower resolution compared to the third generation iPad, meaning that it might lose out of Apple’s Retina Display technology.
Fortune recently reported, citing a “major Apple investor,” that Apple was set to issue invitations on Oct. 10 for an iPad mini-related media event. The report also stated that if the iPad-maker follows its typical scheduling protocol, we could see a special event to unveil the product on Wednesday, Oct. 17, with a launch day of Friday Nov. 2.