Apple Could Sell 10 Million IPad Minis in 4th Quarter
October 8, 2012

Apple Could Sell 10 Million IPad Minis in 4th Quarter

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

It was only last week that the Wall Street Journal ran a story confirming Asian suppliers have already begun “mass production” of the rumored iPad Mini.

Today, they´re saying that not only is Apple preparing to release such a 7.85-inch tablet in an effort to directly compete with similar options from Amazon and Google. they´re also expecting it to sell pretty well: “10 million units” well.

According to the familiar, unnamed components suppliers, Apple has already placed orders for 10 million of these iPads' smaller counterparts in the fourth quarter alone, nearly double the orders placed by Amazon for their new Fire HD.

Many publications, such as DigiTimes, All Things D and Fortune (via Phillip Elmer-Dewitt) suspect Apple will release this new iPad next week on October 17th, with a suggested launch date of November 2. If this is the case, Apple will likely send out press invites this Wednesday, October 10th.

At this point, it´s nearly mandatory to cite analysts in any story about the iPad Mini, explaining why Apple wants to release such a product.

This Journal piece is no different, citing Capital Securities analyst Diana Wu.

And just as in stories past, Wu says Apple will be releasing this product to head off “stiff competition” from the likes of rivals Amazon and Samsung who offer 7-inch and 5.3-inch tablets, respectively.

“It makes sense for market leader Apple to extend its dominance in tablets with a smaller tablet,” explained Wu.

Last Thursday, popular Apple analyst Brian White (of Topeka Capital Markets) issued a report to investors warning of supply shortages in the first month of availability. After visiting with members of Apple´s supply chain in Taiwan, White says yield issues and supply shortages have been “frustrating” to these component makers. In fact, if it weren´t for these shortages, Apple could have released the iPad Mini in September along with the iPhone 5.

“Similar to the iPhone 5, we sensed that suppliers have found the specs around Apple's 7.85-inch "iPad Mini" to be a challenge and yields have been frustrating,” wrote White in his note to investors.

“In our view, this is the reason the "iPad Mini" is 4-6 weeks behind our original launch expectation that we discussed in June. Despite continued yield challenges, the supply chain feels the much anticipated iPad Mini is on track to reach acceptable volume levels for a launch over the next month.”

In his Thursday report, White predicted Apple could sell anywhere from 5 to 7 million of these iPad Minis in the 4th quarter.

DigiTimes also reported on Thursday that supplies may be constrained leading into an impending Apple announcement, creating headaches for early adopters everywhere.

According to this report, it´s the chassis which is holding up production of the new iPad Mini as case makers Foxconn Electronics, Catcher Technology and Ri-Teng Computer Accessory have been seeing low yields in their chassis manufacturing processes.

DigiTimes, once chided for having a relatively low accuracy rating on predictions, has now had earlier reports backed up twice by the Wall Street Journal, both today and last week in the Journal´s piece about the production of 7.85-inch screens. DigiTimes has been reporting since June that AU Optronics has been pushing out these iPad Mini displays since the summer to the tune of 400,000 a month; 500,000 in September alone.