What's Behind Sharp's Slowdown in iPad Screen Production?
Chatter out of Japan on Friday tells us that production of 9.7-inch screens for Apple's iPad has almost winded to a complete halt. Sources close to Sharp Corp. say that the reduction speaks to the shifting market demand for Apple products.
That is, demand for the smaller iPad mini is picking up and may be reducing previously sustained levels of market demand for the traditional - or "regular-sized" - iPad. Reuters reported this morning that Sharp's iPad screen production line in central Japan "has fallen to the minimal level to keep the line running this month."
The production slowdown, however, was first reported as 2012 drew to a close. When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Sharp would not speak on the record about production output, saying only that "We don't disclose production levels." Not surprisingly, Apple isn't commenting either.
While next week's earnings report from Apple (covering the holiday 2012 shopping quarter) may provide some insight into iPad market demand, the most telling information won't come until the next earnings report, which will hopefully give us sales data on the iPad and iPad mini during the first full quarter of availability for both products.