Apple reportedly taps Samsung for Retina iPad mini panels due to supply shortage

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
With the launch of Apple's iPad mini with Retina display on the horizon, rumors of severe supply constraints are aswirl, the latest claiming the situation is so dire that Samsung has been tapped to supply LCDs for the hotly anticipated device.

iPad mini


According to a report from Japan's Nikkei (via CNET), Apple is now looking to rival Samsung for high-resolution 7.9-inch Retina panels, as current manufacturers Sharp and LG Display are having trouble reaching production volumes.

The information comes in part from Japan's largest wireless provider NTT DoCoMo, which is reportedly concerned about expectedly low supply. After years of fighting the iPhone with domestic handsets, DoCoMo was just last month added to Apple's stable of partner carriers, christening the agreement with sales of the iPhone 5s and 5c.

It was reported Wednesday that Sharp was to blame for the rumored iPad mini shortage. The Japanese company is Apple's secondary supplier for the mini's Retina displays, but its share of panel orders is still substantial at a reported 40 percent.

In Friday's report, Nikkei cites a DisplaySearch Japan analyst as saying primary supplier LG Display is also seeing yield issues, and is "not close to full production." Consequently, Apple has been forced to order an unknown number of displays from Samsung, as the Korean tech giant is one of the few companies capable of manufacturing Retina quality panels. Those panels are not likely to arrive until next year, however, meaning supplies could still be tight over the lucrative holiday season.

Analysts have been speculating that Apple would see severe constraints of the smaller iPad for months, and rumors of low LCD panel yields have been circulating since April. In fact, a report from September guessed Apple would delay launching the Retina iPad mini until next year after seeing incredibly low manufacturing volumes.

When asked about the supposed iPad mini constraints during Apple's quarterly conference call on Monday, chief executive Tim Cook said it was "unclear" whether there would be enough supply for the quarter. The company knows how many units are arriving, Cook said, but does not know if that number is enough to satisfy demand.

Apple has yet to announce an official launch date for the mini, instead saying the device will hit store shelves "in November."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,612member

    Were Apple to build the iPad without a display, then (1) Samesung would not have Apple's business and more importantly (2) the iPad would be cheaper and meet J.D. Power's requirements to be judged the best tablet! All too obvious.

  • Reply 2 of 23
    arlorarlor Posts: 509member

    But...but...Samsung only builds cheap plastic crap?

     

    I kid.

  • Reply 3 of 23
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Better to bring Samsung in after the product has been announced and/or released. And it's best to have multiple suppliers for major components anyway.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    jusephejusephe Posts: 108member
    I WANT THIS THING !

    And it's pretty obvious that Apple will rather ask samsung for some more panels instead of alowing a situation when people will kill each other to get the iPad mini.
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Arlor View Post

     

    But...but...Samsung only builds cheap plastic crap?

     

    I kid.


    yes, unless it is for other companies and they pay well. Samsung costumers will buy everything they do, so they don't feel like spending a lot of time on it.

  • Reply 6 of 23
    plagenplagen Posts: 151member

    So why is there no shortage with the larger iPad Air displays? And why couldn't they adjust the manufacturing to allot more production power to the mini displays and decrease the production of the larger displays?

     

    People will be delaying their purchasing decision until the Mini arrives and then the holiday spree will be over!

  • Reply 7 of 23
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    And the game begins. Folks mistaking Cook's comment and using it as fuel for rumors of shortages, analysts covering their butts because maybe the Mini won't sell the 50 million units on the first weekend that they were harping when they wanted to raise the stock. blah blah

     

    Samsung was very possibly always in the mix, there could be north of 10 Million units on tap for launch and Cook's comment was that they have no way of being certain what demand will be. Likely because they are aware of the forums etc screaming for Retina Minis as vital. So while 10 million isn't a shabby production run, demand could be twice that. Thus Cook's "there might not be enough for everyone" at launch

  • Reply 8 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Plagen View Post

     

    So why is there no shortage with the larger iPad Air displays? And why couldn't they adjust the manufacturing to allot more production power to the mini displays and decrease the production of the larger displays?

     

    People will be delaying their purchasing decision until the Mini arrives and then the holiday spree will be over!


     

    The iPad Air displays are the same or similar to the 9.7in screens that have been in use for 2 previous generations. The manufacturing process is likely very mature due to years of process improvements and therefore experiencing minimal production fallout (i.e. high yields).

     

    They undoubtedly have adjusted manufacturing to allot more production power to the rMini displays. These are brand new screens that must be built to a brand new process; they will have brand new problems. Given current news, it seems safe to assume that yields are low, and this is usually found to be a repeatable percentage of failure. As such, Apple is likely doing two things: increasing production (as stated), and desperately trying to improve yields via process improvement. While the former may seem more obvious, it is a poor brute force method that can quickly destroy profit margins. The latter is where Apple is likely pushing harder; the smart bet is to improve yields first, and then increase production.

  • Reply 9 of 23
    One way or the other, that's all speculations and other peoples' job. I am amazed why any rumors will drive people nut and believe it one way or the other, I don't worry about the stock prices one way or the other neither, sooner or later, it reflects the truth and reality. Retina is not anything new. So chill out....
  • Reply 10 of 23
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    Too bad Apple doesn't make their own as most everything they make depends on a panel of some sort.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    plagen wrote: »
    So why is there no shortage with the larger iPad Air displays? And why couldn't they adjust the manufacturing to allot more production power to the mini displays and decrease the production of the larger displays?

    People will be delaying their purchasing decision until the Mini arrives and then the holiday spree will be over!

    Because the mini-sized retina display has a higher pixel density than the iPad Air. Same number of pixels, smaller space. <br><br>

    Considering how well the non-retina mini sold vs the full size retina iPad, it will be very interesting to see the ratios once full production is ramped up. But if these rumors are true, mini sales are going to be poor (relatively speaking) for the first few months. Retina minis will be in short supply, and the non-retina mini only avail in 16 GB capacities. If the retina displays are going to be as contrained as the rumors suggest, Apple might consider adding additional capacities to the non-retina lineup.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    kpomkpom Posts: 617member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Arlor View Post

     

    But...but...Samsung only builds cheap plastic crap?

     

    I kid.


     

    It was a similar situation with GM in the 1990s and 2000s. They made some of the best automatic transmissions in the business. Even BMW and Rolls Royce used transmissions supplied by GM. Unfortunately, they cheaped out on their own cars, and we all know how that worked out.

  • Reply 13 of 23
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,515member
    pazuzu wrote: »
    Too bad Apple doesn't make their own as most everything they make depends on a panel of some sort.

    Another short circuit has hit your brain. You really should keep them to yourself, but that's not your job, is it.

    To your point, yes it's too bad that the U.S. didn't put massive effort into video display technology like the Japanese did 40 years ago. Too bad that Japan did not keep up with both Korea and Taiwan in the last couple of decades. Now Sony and Sharp can't keep up with LG and Samsung. The game is over, the Koreans sacrificed a lot to be winning now. See the New Yorker article a month or two ago, "The Fourth State of Matter"—If you can read.

    Companies, industries, whole nations' technical bases have to grow into these technologies with long experience, funded by government development. It can't just be acquired.
  • Reply 14 of 23

    Love them of hate them, Samsung seem to be the only supplier that can meet Apples demand for displays and a few other products...

  • Reply 15 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post

     

    Were Apple to build the iPad without a display, then (1) Samesung would not have Apple's business and more importantly (2) the iPad would be cheaper and meet J.D. Power's requirements to be judged the best tablet! All too obvious.


     

    Ditching the display would also greatly increase battery life and shave precious millimeters off the iPad mini's thickness. Hmm...

  • Reply 16 of 23
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    iqatedo wrote: »
    Were Apple to build the iPad without a display, then (1) Samesung would not have Apple's business and more importantly (2) the iPad would be cheaper and meet J.D. Power's requirements to be judged the best tablet! All too obvious.

    You should spend a little time and do some research before posting, people don't tend to correct things when it has to do with Samsung so what you say might be construed as fact by others on this board. Samsung manufactures; SSD, memory, displays, CPUs (even the new A7), and other components for Apple. Displays are only a small part of a bigger picture.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    arlorarlor Posts: 509member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post





    Another short circuit has hit your brain. You really should keep them to yourself, but that's not your job, is it.



    To your point, yes it's too bad that the U.S. didn't put massive effort into video display technology like the Japanese did 40 years ago. Too bad that Japan did not keep up with both Korea and Taiwan in the last couple of decades. Now Sony and Sharp can't keep up with LG and Samsung. The game is over, the Koreans sacrificed a lot to be winning now. See the New Yorker article a month or two ago, "The Fourth State of Matter"—If you can read.



    Companies, industries, whole nations' technical bases have to grow into these technologies with long experience, funded by government development. It can't just be acquired.

     

    While I agree with the substance of what you're saying, your tone is remarkably snide. I don't see what the poster to whom you're responding did to provoke you.

  • Reply 18 of 23
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,515member
    arlor wrote: »
    While I agree with the substance of what you're saying, your tone is remarkably snide. I don't see what the poster to whom you're responding did to provoke you.

    Read his previous posts. He's at best a punk poster, at worst a paid troll. One does get weary and short tempered.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    arlor wrote: »
    I don't see what the poster to whom you're responding did to provoke you.

    Sometimes the voices in my head tell me to shave my dogs behind and start a gay doggy porn site. Not sure if this is the same deal, just saying . The trick is a whole lot of peanut butter by the way if your thinking how.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post



    Too bad Apple doesn't make their own as most everything they make depends on a panel of some sort.



    They don't have any experience in the area, and the margins are probably not in line with what Apple would like them to be. In the end one company can't design everything. Even if they could it would mean a lot of extra bloat added to a company.

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