Apple’s iPad mini hasn’t even been officially confirmed yet, but predictions of stock shortages amid “frustrating” yields at component suppliers have already begun to spread. In fact, the first month is likely to see demand far outstripping supply, Topeka Capital Markets’ Brian White suggests, with his checks among the Apple supply chain discovering that – even though some aspects of the rumored 7.85-inch iPad are said to be more like the iPad 2 than the most recent new iPad - delivering what Apple demands has been “no walk in the park for suppliers.”
Exactly which components have been causing particular issues is unspecified. Apple is tipped to be using a 1024 x 768 display measuring 7.85-inches and sticking to the 4:3 aspect ratio of the larger, 9.7-inch iPads, maintaining a relatively high pixel density while preserving compatibility with existing iPad apps.
However, the requirement of every part fitting into what will be a much smaller case means that even relatively mainstream technology – not, for instance, Retina Display panels – can present a hassle. Apple is said to be resolute on its “iconic aesthetics” and White predicts sales of 5-7m units in the final quarter of the year.
“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,” White’s investor note read. “That said, we believe that supply constraints will initially hold back the full sales potential during the first month or so of the launch.”
Those supply issues are a familiar experience from recent Apple launches. The iPhone 5, for instance, is currently backlogged by 3-4 weeks for online orders, with in-store demand seeing many going away empty-handed. A similar problem was encountered with supplies of the new iPad earlier in the year.