Yesterday, Corning announced that weak tablet sales have caused the glassmaker to cut by 25 percent its forecasted fourth-quarter sales of the tough material used to protect mobile displays. Now one analyst estimates Apple could account for up to 88 percent of Gorilla Glass sales.
“However, we estimate that may have dropped to about 50 percent from March through September,” UBS Investment Research analyst Maynard Um tells investors. The drop-off could either be the result of Corning adding new Gorilla Glass customers or, as many believe, rising numbers of unsold non-iPad tablets caused an inventory backlog.
The analyst also weighed in on the reason behind the flaccid fourth quarter for iPad sales. He believes the cause could have been a combination of a weak economy and a potential shift from tablets to laptops. “Given our view that the consumer wallet has not grown materially and if a consumer could not buy all iProducts simultaneously, perhaps there was a shift back in preference to a more traditional form factor with greater functionality,” Um notes.
By happenstance, MacBook laptops sold like gangbusters during the September quarter, exceeding expectations.