A new rumor out of Taiwan claims that LCD suppliers are getting set to produce components for the 7.85-inch “iPad Mini” in time for the second half of 2012. With rumors breaking yesterday that production for iPhone 5 displays are just getting underway, is Apple really going to cram both product releases into the last two quarters of 2012?
This morning, 9to5Mac is reporting on a new rumor out of Taiwan via Macotakara that Apple has taken big steps to commence production of the mythic 7.85-inch Mini iPad. According to the 9to5Mac report, the LCD suppliers for the Mini iPad’s have been certified, and production orders are underway:
LG and AU Optronics were certified to supply the LCD panel for the iPad Mini. Furthermore, it goes on to claim that both manufacturers are working to ship the panels for production and for a release sometime during the latter half of 2012. The target-shipping amount for the iPad Mini is said to reach 6 million (which was previously reported), but I think there would be a need for more due to the influx of holiday sales. Other news about iPad Mini parts include: TPK Holding will produce 4 million backlight modules; Chemi Innolux will produce 2 million; and Nissha Printing will produce the touch film sensor.
This report joins a similarly-styled report out of Asia yesterday via WSJ’s Asia bureau, which claims that displays for the iPhone 5 are only just beginning to ramp up. Lorainne Luk and Juno Osawa reported that, according to their well-placed sources, “The new screens measure at least 4 inches diagonally, the people said, compared with 3.5 inches on Apple’s latest model, the iPhone 4S. Production is set to begin next month, the people said. Analysts have predicted that the next iPhone will come out in the fall.”
Then, there was the China Daily article from last week that claimed Foxconn CEO Terry Gao nonchalantly referred to the much-anticipated iTV: “Gou said Foxconn is making preparations for iTV, Apple Inc’s rumored upcoming high-definition television, although development or manufacturing has yet to begin.” This remark has splashed water on Appledom’s whimsical hopes that iTV could be revealed at the WWDC in June.
An Apple A Day
From a marketing standpoint, does it make sense that the first two quarters of 2012 would have Apple releasing the iPad 3, new OS X, and (ostensibly) a new series of MacBooks, but the second half of the year would feature iOS 6, the iPhone 5, perhaps a new iPod, a Mni iPad, and the iTV? The standard approach to product releasing would say no, but, of course, Apple rarely does anything by the book — and they are the most financially solvent company in the world as a result of that ethic.
It’s also worth noting that Apple sees the year differently than we do: their fiscal year for 2012 began on September 25, 2011, and runs through September 29, 2012. This means that the iPhone 4S and iPad 3 have been released together in the 2012 fiscal year. So, depending on which of the new Apple gear gets released prior on September 29th, Cupertino may have a more balanced product release schedule in the eyes of their shareholders and the balance sheet.
Still, Apple would seemingly need to balance both their own fiscal calendar and the one that consumers live by in order to optimize their releases. It has been noted before that Apple typically staggers its major product releases evenly throughout the year, which is why all of the “latter half of 2012″ release rumors for almost everything that Apple is expected to release this year seems unlikely.
The WWDC would still seem like a perfectly positioned event on the calendar to reveal something new.
By Michael Nace