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3m iPad 3 'retina' screens sent to Apple by month's end

LG, Samsung and Sharp punch out the panels

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Apple's next iPad will indeed feature a 2048 x 1536 "retina" display - if an Asian whisperer is right to say LG, Samsung and Sharp have already shipped more than one million such screens to the fruit-flavoured firm.

This month, claims the mole, they will ship two million units to Apple, DigiTimes says.

Separate reports have it that Apple has reduced its Q4 2011 orders for iPad 2 screens. A sign that Apple isn't expecting to sell too many iPads this quarter? Unlikely. It's more reasonable to expect this to be, in part, an adjustment arising from having ordered too many screens before.

Component maker moles say that's all it is: an inventory adjustment. Apple has enough screens to make 15-16m iPads for sale during Q4, they say.

But a reduction in iPad 2 screen orders might also arise from the sudden availability of what we may call iPad 3 screens. iPad "retina" display production seems to have been touch and go. Could LG, Samsung and Sharp punch out enough of them, of sufficient quality yet at the right price for Apple to put the displays into product? It has not be clear that they could.

If the initial source is right, they have, and Apple is modifying its orders accordingly.

Recall that last month, market watcher Jeff Fidacaro of US-based Susquehanna Financial, a stock broker, said his "supply chain checks" show Apple is planning to produce 12-14m iPads during the current quarter.

At a previous check, the total was 11-13m. Many of the extra million tablets are, he believes, iPad 3s. He says 600,000 to 1m iPad 3 orders have been placed by Apple. That figure broadly tallies with the 'million hi-res iPad screens shipped in October' claim.

DigiTimes sources say if the display shipment data is correct, Apple's iPad manufacturer, Foxconn, will begin assembling the tablets in January 2012.

That should allow Apple to ship a month or so after. ®

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