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Apple slashes fourth-quarter iPad orders, report says

The company is said to be cutting iPad shipments for the quarter by 25 percent, which would be the first time supply partners have seen such a move for the tablet.

Did Apple slash iPad shipments in the fourth quarter?
Did Apple slash iPad shipments in the fourth quarter?

Apple has cut iPad orders from manufacturing partners, Bloomberg is reporting, citing an investment report from JP Morgan Chase.

Apple has reportedly cut fourth-quarter iPad shipments by 25 percent, Bloomberg says, per JP Morgan Chase. The analysts at JP Morgan said that this is the first time they've seen Apple slash iPad shipments since the tablet launched last year.

If Apple has, in fact, cut iPad shipments for the fourth quarter, it will have a profound impact on many of its suppliers, including Hon Hai Precision. According to the analysts, Bloomberg says, Hon Hai was planning to ship 17 million iPads in the fourth quarter, but will now only ship 13 million units.

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It's unclear why Apple might want to cut back on iPad shipments, if that is in fact what's happening. Perhaps it ordered too many iPads in previous quarters, or it's slowing down iPad 2 production to prepare for the eventual iPad 3, or there might be other supply chain management and spending issues involved.

What's more, even with those purportedly reduced shipments, analysts aren't ready to say that Apple will sell fewer iPads in the fourth quarter. According to Bloomberg, JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz will maintain estimates that Apple will ship up to 12 million iPad units in that quarter, even with reduced orders to suppliers.

If Apple can keep up its momentum, and sell as many iPads as researchers expect, this could be another big year for the tablet. Last week, research firm Gartner reported that it expects Apple to sell nearly 47 million iPads this year, up from the 14.7 million it sold last year. Even more impressive, Gartner believes Apple will ship nearly 149 million iPads in 2015.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the Bloomberg report.