Analyst Brian White with Topeka Capital Markets said in a note to investors on Wednesday that Wintek Corporation reported July consolidated sales that were up 61 percent month over month from June. Wintek is one of the most important touch panel manufacturers in the world and is a key partner of Apple's.
White said the month of July was the best on record for Wintek, an increase that may signal Apple is securing parts for its next-generation products. He believes Wintek has likely secured orders for Apple's so-called "iPad mini," a smaller touchscreen tablet expected to have a 7.85-inch display.
Wintek's sales growth in July is particularly noteworthy because the company's June sales dropped drastically. The decrease in sales in June was seen as further evidence that Apple is planning to use in-cell touch panel technology for its next iPhone, a component that is not expected to be provided by Wintek. Numerous reports have indicated Apple plans to use in-cell touchscreens, allowing the display on its next iPhone to be even thinner.
White also believes that the next iPhone will have in-cell touch panels, which is why he believes Wintek's sales spike in July is likely related to an "iPad mini," rather than the iPhone.
One report in July suggested Apple would use the same display technology found in the iPhone 3GS for its new, smaller iPad. The 7.85-inch display is rumored to featurea screen resolution of 1,024-by-768, and using the same panel as the iPhone 3GS would result in the same glass-on-glass touch solution used in Apple's products rather than the rumored new in-cell technology.
Topeka Capital Markets has maintained a price target for AAPL stock of $1,111. White sees a number of new products in Apple's near future, including the next iPhone, a smaller iPad, and the potential for a full-fledged Apple television set.
Apple's smaller iPad is expected to arrive later this year. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with KGI Securities said last month that Apple plans to debut its next-generation iPhone in September, and will follow up with the 7.85-inch iPad shortly after.