The typical supply chain sources told DigiTimes that Apple's next-generation iPad will go into mass production in the July-August timeframe, with shipments to reach five million in 3Q13. Meanwhile, the second-generation iPad mini may not hit mass production until the September-November window to give the larger tablet more breathing room on the market.
According to the sources, the next-generation iPad 5 will adopt a thin-film-type touch panel solution to reduce its weight by 20 to 30 percent. And unlike the generations before it, Apple will go with a slim bezel design to increase the actual display area. Its industrial design will also be modified, sources said.
The total number of iPad shipments is expected to reach 8 million units in 3Q13, consisting of the iPad 5 and the previous generations still in production. This quarterly number is expected to rise in 4Q13 obviously due to the holiday season, and is one of the reasons why Apple has reportedly delayed the iPad mini 2: because the original unit seriously impacted that sales of its larger brother in 2012.
That said, Apple is supposedly focusing on its iPad 5 tablet in 2013 to prevent another cannibalism from an updated smaller unit during the early days on the market. Sources also believe that the iPad mini 2 will be delayed simply because component suppliers cannot meet Apple's mass-production schedule.
Due to this reported delay, analysts have reduced their prediction on total Apple tablet shipments in 2013. Previously they expected 80 to 100 million units in 2013, with the iPad mini accounting for 35 percent of the volume and the 9.7 inch iPad accounting for 65 percent. That number will likely be lower if Apple delays the production of its second-generation iPad mini, sources said.