This week Apple officially announced its new iPad lineup, including the iPad Air and the newer iPad Mini. One of the only changes the company made to the Mini was to give it a new Retina display similar to larger iPad versions. It turns out, however, that this one change could have severely constrained the number of the tablets that Apple has been able to manufacture.
Market research firm IHS today stated that it expects Apple’s supply of iPad Mini tablets to “fall well short” of consumer demand during the holiday quarter. The firm directly blames the issue on manufacturing constraints surrounding the new Retina display. IHS states that manufacturing of the new size of retina panels are suffering from low yield rates.
“Apple is being rather vague about the exact availability date of the new iPad mini with Retina Display, simply stating that the product would ship later in November,” said Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet research at IHS. “The company has good reason to be coy about the exact release date, given that supply of the new mini is going to be ridiculously tight in the fourth quarter. The heart of the problem is supply constraints on the new Retina panel.”
IHS predicts that Apple will be able to ship less than 4 million units – and possibly as few as 3 million units – of the new iPad Mini during the fourth quarter of this year. This is well short of the nearly 9 million iPad Minis that Apple shipped during the fourth quarter of 2012. As IHS points out, even that was not enough to meet demand for the original iPad Mini. With demand for the smaller tablet now outpacing that for the full-sized iPad, it appears that Retina iPad Minis will be a rare commodity when they appear in stores sometime in late November.