WSJ and Others Say Apple Preparing for Mass Production of Smaller iPad

Submitted by lalit on July 4, 2012 - 11:05am.

For past two days iPad Mini (smaller iPad) rumors have been gaining steam. The recent iPad Mini rumors started yesterday, when Unwired View posted that various analysts are claiming Apple is preparing to launch a smaller iPad model, which will cost $249-$299. Unwired View also reported that the new tablet will use IGZO display panel made by Sharp.

After the above rumor started spreading like wildfire, Bloomberg posted that they have heard from two people with knowledge about Apple’s plans that Apple will debut a smaller, cheaper iPad by year-end. Peter Burrows wrote:

The new model will have a screen that’s 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally, less than the current 9.7-inch version, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Apple hasn’t made its plans public. The product, which Apple may announce by October, won’t have the high-definition screen featured on the iPad that was released in March, one of the people said.

After this vague report from Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal also posted a report with bit more information about iPad Mini claiming that component suppliers are preparing for mass production of iPad with a smaller screen. Lorraine Luk wrote on WSJ:

Apple Inc.’s component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production in September of a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the iPad, people familiar with the situation said, suggesting a launch for the device is near.

Two of the people said that the tablet's screen will likely be smaller than eight inches. The iPad's screen measures 9.7 inches, unchanged since the first model was released in 2010.

Officials at the component suppliers, who declined to be named, said this week that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet. The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Apple was testing such a device but hadn't yet decided whether to proceed with production.

One person said the screen makers Apple is working with include LG Display Co. of South Korea and Taiwan-based AU Optronics Co.

Even though most of these rumors are pointing to a Q3 launch on iPad Mini, none actually gave any information about the hardware. WSJ did say that LG and AU Optronics will produce the LCD displays, which would indicate that talks about iPad Mini using IGZO display are wrong, but we can’t be sure.

However, NPD DisplaySearch analyst claims that Apple will use a 7.85-inch screen and his claims are based on talks with companies in “display supply chain”.

“For the 7.85-inch panel, there’s a business plan for it, there’s a mass production target for it. And we Know that it’s for Apple,” said Richard Shim, an NPD DisplaySearch analyst to CNET. “I don’t know the name of the product, but I know it’s going to be a tablet.”

Overall, from the above rumors we believe that the upcoming smaller iPad will have 7.85-inch display, which won’t be based on IGZO technology and the smaller iPad or iPad mini will ship in September or October.