Apple Inc.'s iconic New iPad may not be selling like hot cakes as expected as the company has reduced its monthly display panel procurement target for the third quarter of the year from 6 million to 5 million pieces, according to local media reports.
Citing a Credit Suisse research note, the reports said display panel makers already found a gap between estimated need and actual delivery in the second quarter of this year.
The difference could widen to 15 percent in the third quarter, predicted Jerry Su, a Credit Suisse technology analyst.
Media reports also said only a few well-known laptop brands can meet their growth targets for 2012 due to lingering eurozone debt woes and anemic U.S. economic recovery.
According to the reports, Apple stands the best chance of realizing its projected 30 percent growth target thanks to its launch of new Macbook models in June.
Taiwan's Asustek will come in second with a 15 percent growth rate and China's Lenovo ranks third with an estimated 14 to 15 percent growth.
The following are excerpts from the local media coverage of tablet and laptop industry developments:
Economic Daily News:
Apple's downward adjustment of display panel shipment could affect Q3 sales of local OEM/ODM makers in the New iPad supply chain, including assembler Hon Hai Group, casing makers Foxconn Technology and Pegatron, and backlight module supplier Radiant Opto-Electronics, the reports said.
Also in the supply chain are battery suppliers Simplo and DynaPack; camera lens makers Largan Precision and Genius Electronic Optical; PCB suppliers Compeq, Unimicron and Tripod Technology; FPC makers Zen Ding, Flexium Interconnect and Career Technology.
Research department heads at U.S.-based financial service groups said messages of New iPad sales falling short of expectations have been circulating for some time.
They cited threee reasons for the gap. First, yield rate was low in the initial stage. Therefore, Apple nearly bought up all products available. With yield rate improving, supply outpaced demand.
Second, deteriorating global economic outlook amid eurozone debt crisis in the second quarter affected consumer sentiment.
Finally, Apple's plan to launch iPad Mini -- a less expensive model with a smaller display -- has had a "squeeze effect" on New iPad.
The analysts further said it remains to be seen when Apple's recent settlement of iPad trademark dispute with a Chinese company could help narrow the gap between previous estimates and actual shipments.
Some analysts also predicted that Apple will launch a new generation of iPad in the first quarter of next year, which may be named iPad3.
They further forecast that Japan's Sharp Corp., in which Taiwan's Hon Hai Group has a more than 10 percent stake, would replace South Korea's Samsung and LG as the main display panel supplier for Apple's "iPad3". (July 9, 2012).
Apple's 2012 laptop sales are estimated at 16.6 million to 17 million units marking a 30 to 33 percent growth year-on-year, according to estimates by IDC and other research firms.
Asustek sold 10.50 million laptops in the first half of this year and its total annual sales are estimated at 22.4 million to 22.5 million units, up 15 percent from the 2011 level.
Sales of other brands such as HP, Acer and Dell are likely to post zero growth this year, the statistics show. (July 9, 2012).
After Google launched 7-inch tablet, Microsoft also unveiled its plan to market its own line of tablet dubbed "Surface".
The two U.S. software giants' decisions to tap into the hardware sector could have significant impact on Taiwan information and communications industry.
Both Google and Microsoft set their targets on Apple's iPads. Market analysts said that market opportunity for Microsoft's "Surface" tablets might not be bright unless their prices are kept below those for the New iPad and iPad Mini.
Apple dominates more than 60 percent of the global tablet market. Over the past two years, many companies such as HP, Motorola, HTC and RIM have launched tablet devices, but none of them managed to survive market competition. (July 9, 2012).
(By Sofia Wu)