Market analysis of Apple’s moves with the iPad suggest that the company has cut its orders for the fourth quarter of 2011 by 25 percent – but it might not be as big a deal as all that.
The research report comes from JP Morgan analysts Mark Moskowitz and Gokul Hariharan, according to an article from Boy Genius Report. The analysts expect Hon Hai, Apple’s iPad 2 assembler, to decrease production from 17 million units to 13 million units. However, Moskowitz hasn’t adjusted his shipment projections for Apple, which remains at 10.9 million iPad 2s for the third quarter of 2011 and 12 million for the fourth quarter.
It seems like a strange time to be cutting iPad 2 production, as BGR points out. Here’s a quote:
Speculation surrounding the reported production cuts vary greatly, and some theories are more likely than others — if JP Morgan’s report, which it says it has confirmed with multiple sources, is even accurate. Some suggest sales of Apple’s iPad 2 may be slowing or production could be cut ahead of the iPad 3 launch.
There have been some rumors about the possibility of an iPad 3 this year, going back as far as the launch of the iPad 2 in March and earlier, but it seems unlikely at this point that Apple would undercut its device by releasing another iteration this year, after so many people lined up for the iPad 2 and orders were backed up for months. Now that customers have their devices, it’s somewhat doubtful Apple would spring a new one on them.
As BGR writes, what seems like a much, much more likely scenario is that Apple is moving production to the new iPad plant that manufacturer Foxconn opened in Jundiaí, Brazil, last week. That plant probably won’t begin shipping tablets until the latter part of the last quarter of 2011, but it would make sense that Apple is reducing its orders from other factories in order to spread them around more. What’s more, it’d be an easy factor for analysts to miss when talking with their sources, who might not know about the change.
Regardless, it probably doesn’t mean a new iPad is on the way, as some have speculated. It just doesn’t seem like a new iPad six months out from the launch of the last iPad would make any sense.