Apple Supposedly Turns to Samsung for Help with Retina iPad Mini Display Panels
With the launch of Apple’s Retina iPad mini on the horizon, there have been several rumors of supply constraints at launch. The latest rumor claims the situation is so dire that Samsung has been tapped to supply LCDs for the hotly anticipated device. According to a report from Japan’s Nikkei, the Cupertino California company is looking to rival Samsung for high-resolution 7.9-inch Retina panels as current manufacturers, Sharp and LG Display, are having trouble reaching production volumes.
The information came from Japan’s largest wireless provider NTT DoCoMo, which is reportedly concerned about the expected low supply. After years of fighting the iPhone with domestic handsets, Apple added DoCoMo to its stable of partner carriers just last month with the agreement of sales of the iPhone 5S and 5C.
It was previously reported that Sharp was to blame for the rumored iPad mini shortage. The Japanese company is Apple’s secondary supplier for the mini’s Retina displays but its share of panel orders is still substantial at a reported 40%. In the recent report, Nikkei cites a DisplaySearch Japan analyst as saying primary supplier LG Display is also seeing yield issues and is “not close to full production.” Consequently, Apple has been forced to order an unknown number of displays from Samsung, as the South Korean tech giant is one of the few companies capable of manufacturing Retina quality panels. These specific panels are not likely to arrive until next year though, meaning supplies could still be tight over the upcoming holiday season.
Several analysts continue to speculate that Apple would see severe constraints of the smaller iPad for months and rumors of low LCD panel yields have been circulating since April. A report from September guessed Apple would delay launching the Retina iPad mini until next year after seeing incredibly low manufacturing volumes. When asked about the supposed Retina iPad mini constraints during Apple’s quarterly conference, Cook said it was “unclear” whether there would be enough supply for the quarter. The company knows how many units are arriving but doesn’t know if the number is enough to satisfy demand.
Apple has yet to announce the official launch date for the mini and instead mentioned that it will hit store shelves “in November.”
Will you be trying to get your hands on one? If so, what’s your game plan to do so?