There has been a lot of chatter about Apple’s plans to released a smaller sized iPad in the near future. The rumors intensified further, after Amazon released the $199 Kindle Fire tablet.
Within the past month itself there have been rumors originating from three separate sources, which talk about Apple’s plans regarding an iPad mini. Today, a similar rumor originated from a leaked document which belonged to Samsung’s investment bank, Samsung Securities.
Following the success of its iPad 1 and iPad 2, which have together achieved sales of 55m units, Apple plans in 1Q12 to launch the iPad 3 and in 3Q12 a new 7-inch product temporarily referred to as the iPad mini.
Apple may yet decide to use flexible panels in its next iPad models, if panel makers can mass produce flexible AMOLED panels and improve resolution.
There isn’t much information about the “iPad mini” in the document, apart from what is quoted above. While it is widely accepted that Apple has iPad prototypes of various sizes lying around in its campus, the 3rd quarter release date should definitely be taken with a grain of salt. As we had said earlier:
It seems highly unlikely that it [Apple] will launch a smaller and cheaper version of the iPad after sometime as it would not go down too well with early adopters of iPad 3 who would feel robbed of the opportunity of buying a smaller and cheaper iPad.
The document mentions that, although Apple doesn’t use AMOLED panels for the iPad yet, the technology is “sure to impress” the folks at Cupertino.
A flexible display, by Samsung
As we all know by know, being a supplier for Apple’s products means operating at a huge scale, which Samsung’s factories aren’t capable of at present. All of Samsung’s lines together, can totally produce 54m AMOLED panels annually, which, going by iPad sales figures and growth, is definitely less. Not only that, if Apple jumped ship to AMOLED panels for the iPad 3, the report notes, manufacturing costs would go up by at least $100 per unit.
Samsung’s display manufacturing business would be spun off into a separate company sometime this year, to address concerns of its clients which directly compete with Samsung’s products, Apple Insider notes.