Sharp cuts iPad display production. Will iPad mini be the bigger hit?

iPad Mini Phil Schiller

And in the “there’s no market for small tablets category”, Reuters reports that Sharp has drastically cut production of 9.7-inch iPad screens. The reason, according to two sources? Standard inventory management in Apple’s supply chain. That could mean nothing more than an expected slowdown of sales after the holiday quarter, but one analyst suggests that Apple’s iPad mini will make up the majority of iPad sales in the near term, reducing the need for 9.7-inch screens.

It’s always difficult to interpret Apple’s supply chain moves, given that the company is so secretive and also because it relies on multiple vendors for components. And we may never truly know if the iPad mini is outselling the standard iPad: Apple hasn’t broken out iPad sales by model and isn’t likely to do so.

The best indicator would be the average selling price (ASP) for iPads, given that the cost difference for comparable iPads and iPad minis is $179 $170. Sales of the reduced-cost iPad 2 would muddy that figure as well.

Apple iPad lineup October 2012 iPad Mini event

Even without the breakdown of sales by model, Reuters notes that¬†BNP Paribas is expecting the iPad mini to total 60 percent of all iPad sales in the first quarter of 2013. A lower price-point for a fully capable iPad is one reason the firm could be correct. But, as I’ve suggested for over two years: portability is a feature of devices and the iPad mini is easier to use and carry around in more scenarios, something the consumer market is now aware of.

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