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iPad Mini could get whacked by supply issues, says analyst

Apple's new tablet could see some long backorder times if demand is strong, NPD DisplaySearch tells CNET.

If there's keen demand for the iPad mini, Apple may be facing serious supply issues, says DisplaySearch.
If there's keen demand for the iPad mini, Apple may be facing serious supply issues, says DisplaySearch.

The iPad mini has arrived -- with supply problems in tow.

"We're now starting to see the issues that [Apple] is having with Samsung," Richard Shim, an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch, told CNET in an interview.

Specifically, Samsung, a traditional Apple display vendor, is not supplying displays for the iPad mini, according to Shim. That leaves two suppliers, LGD and AUO.

"The problem is that AUO is a new supplier, and they're not able to get to the volumes that Apple needs. So, essentially, there's just one supplier," Shim said, who covered the topic in a blog post today:

AUO is having yield issues with the 7.9" panel...AUO shipped just over 100,000 units. 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, with plans for 1 million in October and then getting to 3 million in December, according to Shim.

The iPad Mini starts at $329 and comes with a 7.9-inch 1,024x768 display, a dual-core A5 processor, and up to 10 hours of battery life.

"The new low price point is expected to appeal to a wider audience and drive up demand," Shim said in his blog. "However, panel supply chain indications point to an even more than typical tightness in the market for the iPad Mini."

"Samsung and Apple appear to be winding down their relationship most likely due to the legal conflicts the two have been embroiled in recently," Shim wrote.

Typically, Apple lines up at least two major display suppliers. For example, the displays for the third-generation iPad have been supplied by Samsung and LGD, according to Shim.

But this supply chain crimp didn't exactly appear out the blue. There was speculation last week that the iPad Mini would be delayed. With the announcement today, that obviously didn't happen. But supply problems persist, according to Shim, who has a good track record for predicting Apple events and seeing products early in the pipeline.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment and Samsung declined to comment.

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