Sharp has “nearly halted production” of 9.7-inch iPad Retina displays, according to a new report by Reuters on Friday morning.
The news outlet cited two unnamed sources and attributed the manufacturing standstill to a possible demand shift toward the iPad mini or a typical Christmastime letup:
Sharp’s iPad screen production line at its Kameyama plant in central Japan has fallen to the minimal level to keep the line running this month after a gradual slowdown began at the end of 2012 as Apple manages its inventory, the industry sources with knowledge of Sharp’s production plans told Reuters.
Reuters’ industry sources couldn’t verify whether a seasonal change actually caused the curb, if consumers are just buying the iPad mini instead, or even if iPad sales dipped due to a Christmas slump that reportedly affected other technology companies. They were also “unable to characterize Apple’s overall tablet sales.”
More unnamed sources at Samsung and LG further indicated there were no significant production cuts at their respective plants, but a seasonal dip is apparently normal around the holidays.
Apple typically has its product stock ready four to six weeks before Christmas, as CNET also noted in a similar report from 2011 about a lull in iPhone 4S production, and so the Cupertino company can later begin to scale back orders.