Apple is apparently quite confident in the potential of its smaller tablet. Asian component suppliers have received orders to make 10 million of the things, according to both DigiTimes and The Wall Street Journal. The publications independently published reports stating that Apple may have another hit on its hands.
Considering strong sales of the Galaxy Note / Note II, Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire, and other smaller tablets, analysts believe that there's a lot of demand for a product such as the iPad Mini. The smaller screen size and form factor are the big draws here. The full-sized iPad has a 9.7-inch display. Though it is thin and light, it is too large to carry around in a pocket. Products with 7-inch displays are much easier to stuff into a purse or coat pocket.
It's not just the size that's going to help Apple sell bajillions of iPad Minis. The design will help, too. Tokepa analyst Brian White has been trouncing about Asia talking to Apple's suppliers.
"Apple did not skimp on the aesthetics of the much anticipated 'iPad Mini,'" White said in a note to investors. "In fact, we believe the 'iPad Mini' could outshine the new iPad in terms of how the device feels in a consumer's hands."
Pairing White's statements with the most recent batch of leaked iPad Mini photos, and it's easy to see what he talking about. A series of photos that appeared on the Web late last week show a small, sleek device with a matte black finish, not unlike that of the iPhone 5. (You can see a good picture here.) It looks really, really nice. I'm not sure if the black paint job is nice enough to offset the lack of a Retina Display, though. And, let's hope it doesn't get scuffed like the iPhone 5, either.
The DigiTimes report from last week offers an interesting detail that adds some perspective. As with the iPhone 5, Apple's display suppliers are having trouble manufacturing the iPad Mini's display. In fact, DigiTimes notes that yield rate is only 80%, meaning panel makers are trashing one in five displays that come off the line. Is this going to impact the number of iPad Minis available at launch? It's quite possible.
Apple is expected to unveil the iPad Mini at a media event on October 17. The device itself may reach stores as soon as November 2.