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iPad 5 rumor rollup for the week ending March 13

Supply chain mysteries, June blues, price wars among Apple iPad 5 speculation topics

By , Network World
March 13, 2013 02:38 PM ET

Network World - The iOSphere rumor machine for the iPad 5 is running on vapors, given that some were predicting as of last week that the Next iPad will be released "April-ish."

In the absence of anything like data, the so-called rumors amount to ruminating over the mysteries of the supply chain -- in light of completely unfounded estimates and projections of future sales for both the 9.7- and 7.9-inch iPad models; asserting that "delays" mean iPad will be announced in June; and expecting the Next iPad mini to result in lower prices for ... other companies' tablets.

You read it here second.


"Many consumers failed to see its appeal."


iPad 5 shipments will be throttled by shortage of touchscreens

The company said to be Apple's main supplier of thin-film touch sensors for the iPad mini won't be able to build enough of them to equip the iPad 5 and the iPad mini 2, according to brief post at DigiTimes, which as usual cited unnamed "industry sources."

The company is Japan-based Nissha Printing, which DigiTimes says is "Apple's main supplier of thin-film touch sensors for the iPad mini." Its touch panels are used in a variety of mobile devices and other products. Apple introduced a new kind of touch sensor with the iPad mini, making the overall display thinner and improving an array of display and color attributes.

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The rest of this rumor hinges on at three assumptions. First, DigiTimes is one of many tech news sites that is convinced that Apple will introduce this same display technology in the upcoming iPad 5 (and continue using it in the upcoming iPad mini 2). "The next-generation 9.7-inch iPad is expected to use the same touch sensors as the iPad mini's thin-film DITO (G/F2) touch panel structure," according to the post.

Second, the single or at least primary source for these touch panels will be Nissha Printing. "This means that Apple will be looking mostly to Nissha to supply the touch sensors for both devices as the Japan-based firm is a leading provider of the technology, the sources said."

The third assumption, or perhaps assertion, is that Nissha won't be able to meet the projected demand for the two new iPads (not to mention any continuing sales of the original iPad mini). "Nissha currently has an annual production capacity for 60 million 9.7-inch equivalent touch sensors, said the sources," reports DigiTimes. "Approximately 33 million iPads are expected to be shipped during 2013 while shipments of the 7.9-inch iPad mini are expected to reach 55 million units [for a total of 88 million units], indicating that Nissha's production capacity of the touch sensors will be below Apple's expected demand for the two tablet products."

These numbers confuse more than they clarify, in part because they don't say what production capacity Nissha has for the 7.9-inch iPad mini touch sensors. The current fourth-generation 9.7-inch iPad doesn't use the new thin-film touch panel, so the purported 60 million unit "limit" must refer to new thin film displays for 2013.

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