Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Forced: Inventories of Apple’s (AAPL) second-generation iPad Mini are so low, that the company is turning to a tablet rival to boost its supply of high-resolution screens, CNET notes. A report from Japan’s Nikkei new service claims that supplies of the Retina iPad Mini are so low that Apple will tap Samsung to make retina screens so that it can ship enough of the tablets to meet consumer demand. However, Samsung won’t be able to provide volume production of the screens until next year. Rumors of production problems with the pixel-dense screens have circulated for months, with some reports even suggesting that Apple would delay the Retina iPad Mini’s launch until next year due to the shortage. Retina screens for the iPad Mini are manufactured by Sharp and LG Display (LPL), which have been unable to ramp up production high enough to produce adequate volumes. The low supplies of the Retina iPad Mini — which will launch later this month — have worried Apple’s wireless partners, including Japan’s NTT DoCoMo (DCM), which just added the iPhone to its offerings after years of balking at Apple’s contractual demands. Pressure from its retail partners has compelled Apple to place an order for an unknown number of Retina screens with Samsung, whose Galaxy tablet line competes directly with the iPad. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently warned that there might not be enough Retina iPad Minis to meet consumer demand during the holiday quarter. Apple has been trying to reduce its reliance on Samsung-made components as competition between the two companies intensifies in the smartphone and tablet market.
Sliding: During the third quarter, Apple fell to its lowest-ever share of the tablet market, AllThingsD noted. According to data from industry research firm IDC, Apple accounted for just 29.6% of worldwide tablet shipments, down from 40.2% during the same period last year. Apple’s market share was dented by an explosion of cheaper tablets running Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system, and from consumers holding back on iPad purchases prior to the launch of its new iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini this month. Apple shipped 14.1 million tablets during the quarter, up marginally from the prior year’s shipments. Samsung tablets comprised 20.4% of all units shipped in the third quarter, surging from 12.4% in the year-ago period.
Discontinued: Apple has eliminated all but one of the color options for its Smart Cases and Smart Covers designed for older iPads, AppleInsider notes. The array of available case colors designed to fit second, third and fourth-generation iPads has been reduced to just the dark gray version. Apple Stores may have inventories of the cases in other colors, but once they are depleted older iPad owners will be left with just the dark gray cases. Of course, a number of third party case makers offer colorful cases for older model iPads. Apple introduced its own cases in 2011. The company is releasing updated Smart Cases and Smart Covers designed for the new iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.