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Apple Doubles iPad Mini Display Orders

Stronger than expected demand has led Apple to increase the number of iPad Mini displays on order from 6 million to 12 million.

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Apple misjudged how popular the iPad Mini would be, according to NPD DisplaySearch. The company initially asked its suppliers to provide it with 6 million of the 7.85-inch display panels used by the iPad Mini. That figure is proving to be woefully short. Apple is stepping up the number of orders to 12 million in order to meet the high demand for its smaller tablet.

The iPad Mini has been in short supply since its November 2 launch. Just recently, shipping times for the device improved to one week. It was previously shipping in two to three weeks. It is still scarce at retail outlets. Apparently some didn't think it was going to play out this way.

"When Apple unveiled the iPad Mini in October many criticized its $329 price as too expensive for a 7[-inch] segment tablet PC, given competition from other 7-inch tablet PCs, including Amazon Kindle Fire, Google Nexus, ASUS and many private labels," wrote NPD's David Hsieh. Many of these competing devices cost $199 or less.

"However, there is always a strong base of customers who only want Apple products; recently, the iPad Mini was voted one of the hottest consumer products of 2012 in Japan," said Hsieh.

[ Check out the new features in Apple iTunes 11. See Apple iTunes 11: Visual Tour. ]

The popularity of the iPad Mini is forcing Apple's suppliers to go into overdrive. The company has placed orders for 70 million iPad display panels this year, with 23 million slated for the iPad 2 and 47 million slated for the latest full-size iPad, released in October alongside the iPad Mini. However, the iPad 2 has remained a consistently strong seller thanks to its $399 price tag. Apple has downgraded orders for the larger iPad's screen, and boosted the number for the older iPad 2, which remains for sale.

The newest full-size iPad has a 9.7-inch Retina Display, with 2048 x 1536 pixels. The iPad 2 has a 9.7-inch display with 1024 x 768 pixels. The iPad Mini has a 7.85-inch display with 1024 x 768 pixels.

For 2013, NPD believes the iPad Mini may outsell the Retina Display iPad.

"In 2013, it is likely that Apple will adjust its product portfolio to meet the strong demand for the iPad Mini," noted Hsieh. "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."

Aside from the iPad Mini's lower price point, it's smaller size and easier portability have likely played a role in its popularity when compared to its larger iPad brothers. It is significantly lighter than the full-size iPads, and the reduced footprint makes it a snap to carry about.

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User Rank: Strategist
12/16/2012 | 12:15:00 PM
re: Apple Doubles iPad Mini Display Orders
So we wonder why Apple's stock is dropping? Its because of these lower margin Apple product selling better then the higher ones. The iPhone 4S is doing better then the 5 in many markets. Obviously many are choosing iPads over Mac's. The lower priced Apple products are getting more consumers into a Apple product. But it has to be hurting Apple's bottom line at some point.
Its what most of us have said about Mac's for years. Make a cheaper Mac and more will come.
Apple did for a while, the cheaper White plastic Macbook. But then Apple decided a higher margin product would be a small Macbook Air with less of everything then a Macbook but margins are probably better. Apple is losing sales to Android, their is absolutely no doubt about it.For a lot of people who do not worship Apple and prefer instead to let price dictate their purchases. I think Apple is going to have to start being much more competitive or risk losing customers.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/17/2012 | 6:55:29 AM
re: Apple Doubles iPad Mini Display Orders
@ jescott418 wrote, "So we wonder why Apple's stock is dropping? Its because of these lower margin Apple product selling better then the higher ones."

Actually, iSuppli's BOM cost analysis of the iPad mini indicates that margins on that model are in line with Apple's average margins.

Then he wrote, "Apple is losing sales to Android, their is absolutely no doubt about it."

Yes, unit sales, but not profits. In fact, Apple makes the bulk of the cellphone manufacturing industries profits. I'm no businessman, but I've heard that it's profits that are the most important thing...
User Rank: Apprentice
12/16/2012 | 12:48:45 PM
re: Apple Doubles iPad Mini Display Orders
Well, Wall-Mart slashed iPad and iPhone 5 prices. An international discount chain like Wal-Mart don't generally discount already discounted products unless the Apples are about ready to hit the 'sell-by date.'

The Wal-Mart move to deep discount Apple products is a major blow to Apple's bloated ego, and most likely will drive Apple's stock prices down even further next week - doesn't inspire investor confidence.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/17/2012 | 7:05:18 AM
re: Apple Doubles iPad Mini Display Orders
Not quite, gtigerclaw. Walmart--with Apple's approval--is selling the only entry-level iPhone 5 and the iPad 3 16 GB at discounted prices. Those devices make terrific loss leaders/traffic generators for Walmart.

(By the way, given the way Wall Street prices profitless Amazon's stock, it seems to me that the price of AAPL should increase on this news...)
User Rank: Apprentice
12/17/2012 | 8:26:30 PM
re: Apple Doubles iPad Mini Display Orders
I am actually surprised that the sales with the ipad mini are this successful. I guess I have to eat my words on that one. Great job Apple and keep up the great work, now if they will just make a reasonably priced laptop.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
Server Market Splitsville
Server Market Splitsville
Just because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
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