Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Production to ramp in January for late Q1 / early Q2 2012 iPad 3: report

Digitimes delivered a lump of coal into the stocking of Apple's executives on Monday, Dec. 11, when it reported that its sources among upstream Asian component makers informed it that they have begun supplying Apple with parts for a new iPad that they say will go into production in January for release in late Q1 or early Q2.

At the same time, those suppliers are reducing the number of components they are manufacturing for the current-generation iPad 2.

Why is this a lump of call? Apple's last quarterly results were not full of holiday cheer, or at least, not as much as they might have been, had they not hit the brick wall of rumors about the next-generation iPhone, which turned into the iPhone 4S.

While it's typical for sales of an iProduct to drop as a refresh cycle date approaches, this is the holiday shopping season. With less than two week left before Christmas, it's not a good time for shoppers to begin mulling "buy now" or "wait" as they think of purchasing Apple's iOS-powered tablet.

That said, while Digitimes sources its info from the supply chain, its track record is spotty. The site reported back in July that the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 would launch in September. Obviously, neither happened, and we didn't even see an iPhone 5 this year, but an iPhone 4S.

On the other hand, even if their record is spotty, it's a good bet that the iPad 3 will be delivered in March or April of 2012: that would be spot-on in terms of the annual refresh cycle for iDevices that seemed to hold until the iPhone 4S.

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