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iPad 5 rumor rollup for the week ending March 26

John Cox | March 28, 2013
In the iOSphere one doesn't need sources for rumors. Just unhinge one's imagination, propose a couple of untenable hypotheses, and deduce.

Apparently the only thing worse than not winning a contract to supply Apple is ... to win a contract to supply Apple.

"Meanwhile, Samsung Display is reportedly trying to snatch back panel orders from Apple by offering the company reduced panel prices for the iPad mini after losing out on shipments in 2012 as a result of disputes between Samsung Electronics and Apple," according to Digitimes.

Trying to understand this statement is like trying to understand Greek if you only speak Chinese. According to Digitimes, Samsung lost the iPad mini opportunity because of "disputes" - presumably all those patent lawsuits and counter-lawsuits. Which, as we've pointed out before has never been as self-evident an argument as the arguers imagine: Samsung is competing successfully with Apple in iPhones and it's making a ton of money reliably and cost-effectively supplying other Apple displays as well as manufacturing Apple's A Series processors. What would either company gain by trashing those relationships?

In any case, according to Digitimes, Samsung hopes to win the Next iPad or iPad mini display contract - even though it's still locked in those same disputes with Apple - by cutting its display prices. But it's not price that's Apple's top issue, according to the same Digitimes story: It's thin-film technology. If Samsung doesn't offer that, then Apple won't buy the displays, even if Samsung gives them away for free.

Over at uSwitch.com, the fourth quarter shipment of Next iPads sounds perfectly sound to Jonathan Leggett. "A move towards a later launch for both devices can perhaps be read as an admission of the increasing importance of the seasonal market for tablets in the fourth quarter," he writes.

Leggett's wording seems to suggest that he thinks there is or has been a fierce debate inside Apple over how important the holidays are for sales.

It's not clear how people come up with these Conventional Marketing Pieties. For the past three years, iPad sales during the Oct-Dec period have been 7.3, 15.4, and 22.8 million units (the biggest quarter so far and the one that included iPad mini sales). But iPad sales in Apple's Fiscal Year 2011 and 2012 were sometimes higher in other quarters, as well as sometimes lower.

Apple has always seen the Oct-Dec period as important to sales. Almost every other consumer-facing company in the United States does too, for the obvious reason: holiday gift buying. Apple hasn't had to "move toward a later launch" for any of its products to boost sales during the holidays. Because its products are available for the holidays.

Leggett seems to think that Apple reasons thusly: "The seasonal market is increasingly important to tablets so instead of announcing the Next iPad in the spring, and selling it for the rest of this year, we'll wait until October and only sell it for three months this year."

 

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