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Two unnamed "industry sources" claim that Sharp's iPad screen production line, at a central Japan factory, "has fallen to the minimal level to keep the line running this month after a gradual slowdown began at the end of 2012 as Apple manages its inventory.
"The exact level of remaining screen output at Sharp was not immediately clear but it was extremely limited, they said."
Needless to say, neither Sharp nor Apple had any comment.
Then there's this: "The sources didn't say exactly why production had nearly halted." This is subtle way of saying, "We forgot to ask them about this," or, "They kept giving us the run-around on this."
Unlike much of the iOSphere, Reuters deserves credit for naming several explanations for the drop in orders to Sharp. These include: "a seasonal drop in demand, a switch to another supplier, a shift in the balance of sales to the mini iPad, or an update in the design of the product."
Or even two or more of these answers together.
This isn't quite as bad as the now-notorious recent Wall Street Journal story [reviewed by our iOnApple blog] that claimed Apple had slashed its Q2 FY 2013 orders for the iPhone 5 display and other components by half from the original 60-65 million units, due to falling consumer demand.
That original number was way above what one would expect historically, and way above what a wide range of stock market and industry analysts were projecting for Q1 sales (ending Dec. 31, 2012). The final number announced this week by Apple: 47.8 million, another record.
Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.