Sharp Nearly Halts All Production Of 9.7-inch iPad Displays Due To iPad mini?

18 January 2013, 3:04 pm EST By Jimmie Geddes email: Mobile & Apps

Sharp has reportedly cut production of the 9.7-inch screens it supplies for Apple's iPad due to an increase in demand for the 7.9-inch screen found on the iPad mini. It appears that Apple's smaller iPad is proving to be a big success and cannibalizing sales of the 9.7-inch model.

Sharp has reportedly stopped shipping 9.7-inch iPad panels after it started seeing a gradual slowdown starting at the end of 2012 and while Apple manages its inventory of iPad parts. Sources speaking to Reuters could not say exactly why production has been nearly halted but they gave a few possibilities - there could be a seasonal drop in demand, a possible switch to a new supplier, a shift in sales of the iPad mini versus the 9.7-inch model, or an update to the design of the full-sized iPad.

Steve Jobs famously said that all 7-inch tablets were DOA (dead on arrival), years before Apple announced the 7.9-inch iPad mini in October 2012. The smaller sibling has faced some criticism in its price and non-Retina display screen, but that has not stopped customers from making the iPad mini their tablet of choice. Even though the iPad mini was announced in October 2012 Apple still has trouble filling orders. Its online store lists the iPad mini with availability to ship in 1 week compared to the fourth-generation flagship iPad which is in stock and ships within 24 hours.

Consumers appear to want a more portable iPad but don't want to sacrifice the iPad experience by going with another 7-inch tablet at lower prices. They are willing to pay the premium Apple adds to the price of its 7.9-inch iPad mini in exchange for that aluminum unibody enclosure, Apple's design aesthetic, and that very important "it's still an iPad" experience millions have fallen in love with.

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