The iPad Mini might have got off to a flyer, even if Apple’s first weekend sales figures accounted for full-sized and stripped down versions of its tablet.
But press release semantics are likely to be the least of Cupertino’s worries right now when it comes to the iPad Mini.
Subsequent reports emerging from Taiwan’s Digitimes suggest that supplies of the smaller iPad’s display and backlighting components are suffering “low yield rates”, prompting Apple to heavily revise projected sales of the new device in the quarter up until Christmas.
Word from insiders close to LG and AU Optronics, both of whom supply Apple with panels for the iPad Mini, indicates that the displays just cannot be produced in high enough quantities.
AUO is meant to handle 40 per cent of panels for the iPad Mini. Right now, it’s at just 22 per cent. The result? Apple may miss its 10 million unit sales target by a colossal 4 million. If this report is on the money, it’s nothing short of a disaster for Apple.
The budget iPad Mini has received rave reviews and has been the subject of high demand as consumers look to get on the iPad bandwagon without paying north of £400.
But that will be scant consolation to Apple with the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD both available at a lower cost and each boasting their own ecosystem into which they can tie users down for months and years to come.
This could easily eclipse recent Apple debacles, including the failure of Maps and the removal of iOS guru Scott Forstall and Richard Williamson.
Those didn’t have quite the same potential to hit Apple’s bottom line, whereas the failure to get less than two thirds of planned iPad units to market in the current quarter most certainly does.
Of course, Apple will not issue a statement about this and will doubtless refuse to break down iPad Mini and iPad sales, much as it does with its iPod line.
That will only lead to more speculation as to how the smaller slate is fairing. It may still have a stranglehold on mind share and its products are, for the most part, stunning.
But it wouldn’t be baseless to say that we’re seeing Apple reaching a crossroads.
The time of it being the dominant player producing the very best kit seems to be coming to an end. And more worrying still is that failings such as this display shortage can only help bring even more issues to the fore.