Apple iPad ‘screen production cut back’

Sharp has cut back production on larger iPad screens as demand shifts to the iPad mini, according to reports.

The Sharp production line for screens for the 9.7-inch Apple iPad has been cut to the minimum level, a report from Reuters claims.

The report suggests that the change is due to a shift in demand from the full-size iPad to the iPad mini, though Reuters admits that its sources did not have knowledge of Apple’s overall iPad sales.

Around 3.4 per cent of Sharp’s sales come from Apple but the Japanese firm has been struggling. Last year it said weak TV sales had cast “material doubt” on the company’s ability to survive.

Apple’s also gets its iPad screens from LG and Samsung, though it has been reducing orders from Samsung as the rivalry between the two companies deepens.

The report follows claims earlier this week that Apple has cut orders of iPhone 5 components, with some analysts attributing this to a decline in demand for the Apple smartphone, while others claim it is the result of more efficient manufacturing.

The rumour briefly sent Apple’s shares below $500 for the first time in a year.

Apple is due to announce its Q1 results next week, which will reveal how many iPhones and iPads the company sold in the run-up to Christmas.

Though Apple has faced increasing competition from rival smartphone manufacturers, particularly Samsung, analysts expect the company to announce sales of up to 63 million iPhones in the last quarter.

The launch of the iPad mini, last October, is also expected to have driven iPad sales, though Apple is unlikely to reveal sales of specific iPad models next week. However, BNP Paribas expects the iPad mini to account for 60 per cent of iPad sales in the first quarter of 2013.

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