Sharp cuts iPad screen production: report

A cut in iPad display production seems to corroborate earlier reports that demand for Apple's iPhone and iPad devices is finally waning.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Now at consumers have a choice between the full-sized iPad and the petite iPad mini, a report claims that electronics manufacturer Sharp has effectively halted the manufacture of its 9.7-inch screens in order to concentrate on producing the smalller 7.9-inch displays.

Sources speaking to Reuters claim that production of the 9.7-inch displays at the Kameyama plant in central Japan has been cut back to what is being described as "minimal level to keep the line running this month," following a gradual slowdown that started at the end of 2012. The shift, it is suggested, comes as a result of Apple manages its inventory, but it is unclear if this is a seasonal shift or an overall decline in demand.

It is important to note that Sharp isn't the only supplier Apple uses for displays. LG Electronics and Samsung also supply panels to Apple. While neither company would comment officially on order levels, a source at Samsung told Reuters that there hadn't been any significant change in order levels.

This report comes close on the heels of another suggesting that Apple had slashed component orders for the iPhone by "roughly half" due to falling demand. Hints that Apple's iPhone and iPad juggernaut could be hitting a speed bump pushed the price of Apple shares below $500 this week, the first time the stock has been at this level for almost a year.

A suggestion that demand for the iPad could also be tailing off could spook investors even further.

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