iPad Mini to debut in second half of 2012: report

The latest iPad Mini rumour suggests the tablet will hit the market in the third or fourth quarter, as Apple has lined up suppliers for the LCD panel.

Apple has reportedly already tagged LCD suppliers for an iPad Mini, with an eye toward launching the tablet in the second half of the year.

This latest scuttlebutt comes courtesy of Taiwan news outlet Liberty Times (English translation).

Citing the usual vague "market rumours", but also a report from the Japanese arm of Macquarie, the Liberty Times said that the iPad Mini could start shipping by the end of the third quarter, with a goal of 6 million units.

That 6 million number is the same number projected last month by Chinese online portal Netease.

LG and Au Optronics have already passed Apple's certification tests to provide the tablet's LCD panel, the report said. Both have been working to ship the panels for actual production of the diminutive iPad, according to the report.

Further details translated by Japanese blog site Macotakara say TPK Holding will produce 4 million backlight modules, with Chimei Innolux providing an additional 2 million. Nissha Printing would make the tablet's touch film sensor.

This latest rumour follows other claims, some still tentative, that Apple will unveil a 7-inch iPad this year.

Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes recently pointed to evidence of an iPad Mini in the supply chain, as seen by the firm's global research team. One report said that the small tablet would offer 8GB of storage and sell for US$200, while Netease put the price tag in the range of US$249 to US$299.

The iPad finally got a bit of competition in the US during the fourth quarter from Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire, which boosted the overall market share for Android tablets.

Apple has since regained lost ground, and remains the dominant player in the US tablet arena. IHS projects a tablet market share of around 61 per cent this year.

Still, the iPad has watched its lead decline amidst a swarm of Android tablets, large and small, released over the past year. An iPad Mini could be the ticket to combat the Kindle Fire and other smaller tablets. But Apple typically sets the trends, rather than following those already set by others. So, if we do see an iPad Mini this year, we'd expect Apple to add some kind of twist to distinguish it from its Android rivals.


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thesorehead posted a comment   

I'mma call bullshit on this.


if true, it'll be basically a miniaturised iPad 2. Not a bad idea really - a 6" iPad would be a lot more kid and bag friendly.


AdamB3 posted a comment   

does that mean half the power in performace

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