Sharp, which supplies screens for Apple’s iPad, has “nearly halted” production of 9.7in displays as consumers opt for the smaller iPad mini, Reuters has reported.
Citing “industry sources with knowledge of Sharp's production plans,” the newswire alleges that Sharp has decreased production of 9.7in screens at its Kameyama, Japan plant to the lowest possible level. The drop in manufacturing levels is attributed in part to a slowdown at the end of 2012, with Apple making inventory decisions after the holiday season.
There’s no word yet on how much of the drop in production is related to shifts in consumer demand and how much is due to fallout from the holiday season.
“We don't disclose production levels,” a Sharp spokesperson said.
Macquarie Research recently predicted that Apple would see a decline in shipments of its full-size iPad as the smaller, less expensive iPad mini continues to gain traction among consumers. Analysts at BNP Paribas estimate that the iPad mini will grow to encompass 60 percent of total iPad shipments in the first quarter of 2013.
These reports echo concerns from experts at the time of the iPad mini’s announcements that the more affordable tablet could wind up cannibalising sales of Apple’s of 9.7in iPad.