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Apple will not kill iPad 2 at iPad 3 debut

LCD orders suggest 25m old iPads to ship this year

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Apple is ordering fewer 9.7in, 1024 x 768 IPS LCD panels but it hasn't cut out the part entirely. That suggests it does indeed plan to continue selling the iPad 2 after the LTE-equipped iPad 3 has gone on sale in March.

According to whispers from the Asian display supply chain, the Mac maker asked for 1m 9.7in, 2048 x 1536 panels in Q4 2011, but has upped that to an estimated 6-7m units in Q1, DigiTimes reports.

It will increase the order count further, to 10m units in Q3.

As demand for the higher-resolution panels rises, so orders for the older screens falls - but not to zero.

Estimates put the number of screens Apple ordered in Q3 2011 at 16m, falling to 10m in Q4 2011 and then to 7-8m in Q1 2012.

Clearly, Apple could release the iPad 3 and kill off the iPad 2 at the same time, but the numbers, if accurate, suggest that it wants to older model to stay around for some time, mopping up some of the demand for the new model, which it will be unable to supply in the volumes it would like to.

Alternatively, it knows the iPad 3 is going to cost more than the iPad 2 does, and it doesn't want to lose sales momentum by restricting buyers to the more expensive item.

Estimates, such as they are, put Apple's overall 2012 panel purchasing at 65m units: 40m 2048 x 1536 screens and 25m 1024 x 768 ones. That's 32.7 per cent up on 2011's total of 49m iPad LCDs. ®

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