Yesterday, it was revealed that Sharp is cutting production of iPad displays. Sharp's iPad screen production line at its Kameyama plant in central Japan has decreased to the minimal level to keep the line running this month. This has occurred 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.
Many speculate that the reason isn't just because of the post-holiday slowdown; shifting consumer demand for the iPad mini has played a huge influence. The device, released last November, has received good reviews. However, many think the display is subpar and it is rumored that Apple is having Sharp produce Retina displays for the iPad mini. The updated device is expected to be released in March.
Others speculate that the regular iPad now has fierce competition. "The iPad is still the best tablet on the market. However, devices such as the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 and the Nexus 10 have given Apple a run for their money," Los Angeles industry analyst Paul Mueller tells this column. Mueller predicts that the iPad 5 will sell well initially, but slow down once Samsung and Acer unveil new competing tablets.