Apple could be forced to delay the release of refreshed versions of the iPad mini and the standard-sized iPad, reports suggest, amid signs of shortages of a key component.
According to sources cited by Taiwanese mobile-industry news site DigiTimes, Apple’s chief supplier of thin-film touch sensors, Nissha, has reported severe shortages due to “a lack of production capacity”.
The sensors are reportedly intended to feature in the next iterations of the iPad and its junior stablemate, which some claim could launch simultaneously during the second quarter.
To attempt to fulfil demand, the company intends to boost output by 30 per cent before the end of the first quarter of the year.
However, with Nissha currently thought to be able to produce 60 million touch sensors annually and total demand for both tablets predicted to hit 85 million units, that still sounds like they’re cutting it fine to us.
The news raises the prospect that Apple could struggle to service retailers with supply and may opt to postpone the release of one of the devices until later in the year.
Given rival tablet-makers’ tendency to launch budget-priced, smaller tablets in the run-up to Christmas to capitalise on the seasonal market, it’s probable that the iPad mini will be the device to make way, with a likely due date at the end of the third quarter or the beginning of the fourth period.
Previous reports suggest that the iPad 5 will be be a much more radical overhaul than the iPad 4 and will see the tablet adopt a “body style similar to the iPad mini”.