In Asia, following supply chain players carefully seems to be the hottest trend in tech reporting. At times, reading about these leaks provides us with a glimpse of possible new product trends in the pipeline or supplier shifts that could affect the market in one way or another. In today's rumor report we cover an off-beat observation made by Korea's IT News filed late yesterday.
Korea's IT News reported yesterday that "The smart pad display market has been undergoing significant changes, introducing smart pads with various sizes and functions.
The smart pad is the second most important product in the market after TV, due to its high growth rate. Therefore, the panel industry pays heated attention to the smart pad display market.
This year, the composition in Apple's smart pad display supply chain has changed every month. Sharp was replaced by Samsung. AUO, who had provided panels for iPad mini were dropped out of Apple's supply chain. Apple decided to procure panels for iPad with retina display, from three companies including LG Display, Samsung Display and Sharp.
With its solid standing in the smart pad market, Apple's choice for panel significantly affects panel manufacturers. Moreover, Apple plans to further diversify the size and variety of their smart pads. This will bring big changes into the market."
While Apple is likely to upgrade their iPad mini with a Retina display later this year if they find sufficient supply, there's been absolutely no news of there being any additional iPad sizes. Yet the whole purpose of the Korean report is dedicated to the shifting display sizes coming to the smart pad sector. Two thirds of their report is dedicated to Apple. So what is it that they know that would suggest new iPad sizes? The report never quotes a source and yet they don't blink. To them, it's just a matter of fact. The Korean IT News site has been fairly accurate on many Apple-Samsung supplier shifts and so they have a decent reputation at making the right calls. That's why this rumor is so interesting.
By looking at what they're saying closely, we see that there are two sides to the Korean view point. One is size and the other is variety. On the variety side of the coin I think we could easily see Apple offering both Retina and non-Retina iPads this fall so as to present consumers with better iPad mini price points for the holiday season. It's the other side of the coin relating to size that gets a little blurry.
There was another interesting iPad rumor that we reported on in May concerning a larger iPad, so I don't know if that's what they're referring to or not. On the smaller side of the iPad size equation, Tim Cook is on record stating that he didn't think that the time was right for a Phablet – so that philosophy or market-position would likewise follow through to a smaller iPad as well. And so on the matter of size, there's little wiggle room for change.
While time will tell if the Korean report pans out in any way, shape or form, I'd like to know what your thoughts are on this. Will Apple offer two kinds of display types for the iPad mini this fall and more importantly, will they add a new size to the Pad family? Send in your comments below.