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If rampant speculation is anything to by, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be ready to announce to the world its long-rumored iPad Mini as early as next week. But one analyst has warned that supplies of the new 7.85-inch tablet are likely to fall short of demand as production of the device has not been a “walk in the park for suppliers.”
Topeka Capital Markets’ Brian White wrote in a note to investors on Thursday that Apple’s suppliers have found the specifications for the iPad Mini challenging to meet, leading to low production yields. “Despite continued yield challenges, the supply chain feels the much anticipated iPad Mini is on track to reach acceptable volume levels for a launch over the next month,” White wrote. “That said, we believe that supply constraints will initially hold back the full sales potential during the first month or so of the launch.”
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White had previously predicted that the smaller and cheaper tablet, meant to challenge rival devices from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), among others, will be launched in September. He said on Thursday that Apple was presumably forced into delaying the unveiling because of these production shortfalls.
The analyst added that he expected the tablet to be priced between $250 and $300 and sell between 5 million and 7 million units in the December quarter. White also predicted the iPad Mini will beat its competitors in the same price range. “Despite the low price point, we expect Apple to maintain the iconic aesthetics of the current iPad and blow away what competitors are offering in this smaller form-factor tablet market,” he wrote.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal earlier in the week, mass production of the new device is currently underway at factories of Apple’s manufacturing partners in China.
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