A new report suggests that Apple is cutting iPad mini orders to bolster supply and production for an iPad mini 2 release in the third quarter of 2013.
The iPad mini is less than six months old, but speculation is already pointing to a Fall iPad mini 2 release and supply chain rumblings indicate Apple may be preparing an iPad mini 2 with a Retina Display.
The latest news comes from DigiTimes, which compiled tips from industry sources in the Apple supply chain. This report claims Apple is reducing shipments of the iPad mini in the second quarter of 2013.
The decrease may be as high as 20% on month during April, the sources noted, and may continue to slightly decrease throughout the quarter to bring total shipments of the iPad mini to as low as 10 million units during the quarter.
The iPad mini shipment cut information reportedly come from multiple sources in the supply chain, and point to Apple making adjustments for the next iPad mini, a device that many are calling the iPad mini 2. The shipment reduction is also reportedly due to increased competition in the 7-inch tablet sector.
DigiTimes delivers hit or miss information direct from multiple supplier sources in China. Think of the publication as a conduit for rumors and gossip about supply chains for Apple, Samsung and others. Sometimes DigiTimes‘ information is not on the money, but there are times where the publication delivers information that is spot on.
Competition for the affordable and portable 7-8.9-inch tablet market is fierce with Amazon firing on all cylinders to move Kindle Fire HD units and Samsung prepping the Galaxy Note 8.0 for release in April. Amazon cut the price of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD recently to make the device more attractive to users. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 should arrive in April to take on the iPad mini.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 features a 8-inch 1280 x 800 resolution display and internal specs that put it in direct competition with the iPad mini. The size of the device is clearly targeting potential iPad mini buyers, and Samsung hopes the Multi-Window View and S Pen will help it bring the heat to the iPad mini.
Despite the claimed reductions and increased competition, Apple reportedly estimates selling 33 million iPads and 55 million iPad mini units in 2013.
Apple is likely planning an iPad mini 2 and iPad 5 release at the same event. Given the current rumors and that we are almost past the previously typical spring iPad launch window, Fall is starting to look like a likely time for the iPad mini 2 to make a debut.
There are rumors that the iPad mini 2 display is under development to enter production. A separate DigiTimes report claims that AU Optronics is working on iPad mini 2 Retina Display panels, which would address one of the major complaints about Apple’s smaller tablet.
Thus far two rumors point to an iPad mini 2 release this fall, and one report from early March claims Apple will release the iPad mini 2 in April. At this point nothing is concrete, but the number of rumors pointing to a late in the year launch, and the fact that the iPad mini would only be six months old in April do seem to point to the later launch making more sense. Even if this leaves Apple without a flashy launch event in the first half of 2013.