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The iPad Mini buzz may have been overshadowed over the last few weeks by the excitement generated by the iPhone 5, but one analyst continues to be focused on the possibility of the smaller tablet being announced by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) this year. Kirk Yang, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Barclays, wrote in a research note to clients that Apple was still on target to release the iPad Mini in 2012 and that the new device could easily sell up to 9 million units this year.
Although Yang suggested that mass production of the new tablet may have been delayed to October from September due to supply constraints, he maintained that Apple was not likely to postpone the launch. “As most iPad component vendors ramp up shipments in September that would continue into the fourth quarter of 2012, we do not see any signs of a postponed shipment schedule, suggesting an on-time October product launch,” Yang wrote.
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According to the analyst, Taiwan’s Pegatron was responsible for the supply constraints. Barclays had previously forecast that Pegatron would assemble 70 percent of the total iPad Mini units in production this year, but revised the estimate to barely 30 percent. Yang blamed Pegatron’s yield rate issue, saying the manufacturer would only be able to ship 3 million units in the fourth quarter.
“Unlike Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Pegatron lacks the experience for tablet assembly, which has a long learning curve,” Yang said. Hon Hai, or Foxconn, is likely to assemble 6 million to 7 million units, making up 60 percent of the total allocation for the year.
Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed down 1.16 percent at $659.39 on Monday.
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