Sharp Dramatically Cuts iPad Display Production - InformationWeek
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
11:20 AM

Sharp Dramatically Cuts iPad Display Production

Apple and Sharp have not explained the nosedive in the 9.7-inch screen's production.

Sharp Display has reduced the output of 9.7-inch display panels at its Kameyama, Japan, plant to the bare minimum needed to keep the line running. Sources cited by Reuters said this month's near-halting of production follows a slowdown that took place in December. The reason for the dramatic shift in output has not been explained by Sharp nor Apple.

There are several possibilities. First, a seasonal drop in demand could mean that Apple is managing its inventory after the holiday season. The October-December holiday season was surely a busy one for Apple and its products. Though the company has not yet reported its quarterly numbers, sales of the iPad are expected to come in at about 13 million. It makes sense that, with fewer people buying iPads after the holidays, Apple might slow down production of the device.

Another possibility, suggests Reuters, is that an iPad update is on the way. Reports have already pegged Apple making significant changes to the iPad 5 later this year. One of the changes to its premier tablet is an altered shape, which would require different glass and display panels.

[ Apple may be heading for a fall. See Apple's iPhone Share To Peak In 2013? ]

Apple could be reacting to a shift in popularity of the larger iPad. The iPad Mini, launched in November, has been a popular seller despite some of its drawbacks, such as its non-Retina Display screen. The iPad Mini, which costs less and has plenty of appeal, could be cannibalizing sales of the full-sized iPad. Perhaps Apple needs Sharp to cease producing full-sized iPad screens so it can make more for the iPad Mini.

Last, Apple could be shifting production to other suppliers. Sharp is not the only company that makes iPad panels for Apple. Sources at both Samsung and LG Display indicate that there's been no major change in their output of iPad panels.

At least one analyst firm thinks iPad sales during the fourth quarter were weaker than expected.

"The tablet shipment showed dramatic growth," TrendForce said in a report. "As Apple's 9.7-inch product saw lower-than-expected sales in Q412, the inconsistency emerged between panel suppliers' output and clients' procurement."

Earlier this week, Apple asked its iPhone 5 panel makers to slow down their production yields of the smartphone's display. The reason for the iPhone 5 production slowdown was tied to seasonal changes in demand.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll