Rumors that Apple’s third-generation will launch early next year have been strengthened by claims from “industry sources” today, who say the Cupertino company has moved to control supplies of its iPad 2 in a bid to reduce excess inventory. It will reportedly reduce the number of displays manufactured by the likes of Samsung, LG Display, and Chimei Innolux during the fourth quarter of 2011, which could lead to a reduction in iPad shipments.
Apple still has plenty of iPads in its inventory, however, according to DigiTimes. The company sold 11.12 million units by the third quarter of this year, but has an inventory strong enough to produce 15-16 million devices, leaving 4-5 million units in its stockpile.
With an iPad 3 on the horizon, the company has reportedly now reduced down iPad 2 display production:
Due to inventory adjustments at Apple, LG Display saw its shipments of 9.7-inch panels to Apple decline from three million units in September to 2.5 million units in October. Samsung managed to keep its shipments of 9.7-inch panels flat at two million units in October, while CMI slashed its shipments from 700,000 units to 350,000 units during the same month, said the sources.
While these manufacturers have had their shipments reduced, Samsung and Sharp have already been instructed to build panels for the next-generation device, and have been doing so since October. TPK Holding and Wintek will join the duo in display production during November or December, according to the sources.
It’s likely Apple has taken control of its supplies to ensure manufacturers can continue to meet the demand of the second-generation device while the next model enters production.