DigiTimes Wrongly Claims Slow Ramp Up of iPad 3 Production Could Cause Supply Problems at Launch

Submitted by lalit on March 1, 2012 - 2:04pm.

In past two days, DigiTimes has posted many Apple related rumors with some of these rumors being almost laughable. One of such rumors that DigiTimes posted today is Apple won’t be able to ramp up supply of iPad 3 until Q2 2012. Siu Han wrote:

Apple may not unable to ramp up the supply of its next-generation iPads (iPad 3), which are expected to be launched at a company event on March 7, due to insufficient supply of high resolution displays, according to industry sources in the supply chain.

The new iPad, which reportedly will come in 16GB and 32GB versions, will continue to be equipped with 9.7-inch panels but with a display resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels (264ppi) compared to the previous standard of 1024 by 769 pixels, the sources noted.

Although Apple has chosen Sharp to replace Chimei Innolux (CMI) as one of its three suppliers for the high resolution (QXGA) panels – in addition to LG Display and Samsung Electronics, the whole supply chain has failed to substantially ramp up the supply of QXGA panels, the sources revealed.

Now the question, Why is this report laughable? The answer is simple they are contradicting their own report, which they published few hours back. Aaron Lee posted on DigiTimes earlier today:

Since Apple has put high hopes on its new iPad 3 and has been aggressively placing orders, iPad 3 shipments in the first quarter of 2012 are expected to double from original estimates.

If Apple is doubling the iPad 3 shipment for first quarter, then how is Apple not able to ramp up production? Also we have confirmed with multiple sources that Apple will have more than twice the number of iPad 3 units ready for launch when compared to iPad 2 units available for launch last year. Our sources say that Apple had about one million iPad 2 units ready for first two weeks of launch last year. And this year they will have about two million iPad 3 units ready before launch.

Apple started iPad 3 mass production almost 4-6 weeks back in January. If they were having difficulty in getting the new QXGA displays they could have easily delayed the launch by few weeks.

Also as we wrote today morning, DigiTimes is wrong about two iPad 3 models –a 16GB and a 32GB. We can now say for sure that there will be a 64GB iPad 3 model. According to our source, Apple actually sells more 64GB models than 16GB models also the profit margin they have on 64GB model is higher than 16GB model, so why would they cut off their most profitable product.

Nowadays the price difference between a 16GB NAND chip and a 64GB NAND chip is about $24 to $30, while Apple charges $200 more for the 64GB version. Basically, Apple makes $170 more in profit on a 64GB model than the profit they make on a 16GB iPad model.

So, in short Apple will have more iPad 3s (including 64GB model) than they had iPad 2s for launch. However, as we have seen with all iOS product launches demand could easily trump supply (Apple made 22-25 million iPhone 4S in Q4 2011 still it was in short supply). iPad 3 shortage will be caused by very high demand and not by production issues.