on Tuesday formally introduced
the iPad Mini
, a miniature sized iPad tablet with a 7.9-inch display rather than the 9.7-inch found on the full size iPad. Pricing for the iPad Mini starts at $329, quite a bit higher than the entry-level Kindle Fire HD (Amazon) and Nexus 7 (Google) devices, both of which begin at $199. Apple's quick to point out that the iPad Mini is the most affordable iPad device ever, but even if the market ultimately agrees, will there be enough stock to satisfy demand?
"As is typical, we expect the iPads to be supply constrained initially, especially the iPad Mini with its $329 price. The new low price point is expected to appeal to a wider audience and drive up demand. However, panel supply chain indications point to an even more than typical tightness in the market for the iPad Mini," Richard Shim, Senior Analyst for DisplaySearch, noted in a blog post.
Apple has split production of the iPad Mini between Foxconn and Pegatron. According to Shim, Apple is working with LG Display to supply panels to Foxconn for the finished product, while AUO is to provide panels to Pegatron. It's a solid strategy, except that AUO is reportedly suffering from yield issues.
"AUO is having yield issues with the 7.9-inch panel which is limiting their supply to Pegatron, and in September, AUO shipped just over 100,000 units," Shim explains. "The production plan is reach 400,000 units in October, 800,000 units November and 1 million in December. LG Display shipped 300,000 panels in September, and plans to ship 1 million in October, 2.5 million in November, and 3 million in December."
If AUO falls short, Apple could tap into Samsung to churn out panels for the iPad Mini, though tensions between the two companies are at an all-time high.
The iPad Mini will be available to pre-order on October 26, the same day Windows 8 launches to the general public.