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iPad 5 rumor rollup for the week ending May 23

John Cox | May 27, 2013
Apple iPad 5 scuttlebutt: Lighter and less filled, September launches, clearance confusion.

Whether accurate or not, DigiTimes is saying that trial production starts in July, and will increase monthly output ("shipments" to Apple and its retail partners) up to 2 million-3 million units in September. Zibreg simply concludes that therefore iPad 5 will be ready to ship in September.

Let's think about this. In September, the humming production lines will crank out optimistically 3 million iPad 5 tablets, according to DigiTimes. But they started in July: Let's say they cranked out 1.5 million during that ramp-up period. Total: 4.5 million iPad 5 units, by the end of September.

In 2012, Apple released iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad on Nov. 2, which means they were on sale for about eight weeks of that fiscal quarter. For that entire fiscal 2013 Q1, Apple reported it sold 22.8 million iPads. If we just do the averages, that's 1.2 million iPads per week, or 7.6 million per month.

Sales probably were tailing off during September as consumers waited to see what was announced, and then picked up during the November-December holiday buying season. And Apple doesn't break out 9.7-inch and 7.9-inch iPad sales separately: It's all one number.

So the question becomes: Can a starting inventory of 4.5 million 9.7-inch iPads at the beginning of October 2013, and a production rate of 3 million a month, sustain sales for the big iPad? And ensure that everyone (or at least almost everyone) who wants an iPad can get one?

This seems like a stretch, based on the DigiTimes sources.

iPad 5, iPad mini 2 release dates can't be determined by retailers' clearance sales after all but they will be released in July anyway
In early April, as The Rollup noted, the iOSphere went gaga because some big retail sellers of the iPad and iPad mini announced price cuts. Everyone and her brother immediately discerned that this closely watched "pattern" was a surefire indicator that Apple and its retailers were clearing these products out of inventory to make way for their replacements. And obviously those replacements would be coming ... soon.

A week after gaga, most prices at most of these same retailers had returned to previous levels.

And this week, Stabley Times, concluded that, goshdarn, it looks like you can't count on the pattern after all. Jake Robison sure sounded glum in his post.

"Consumers awaiting the iPad 5 and particularly iPad mini 2 have a case of the Retina Display blues, as earlier hope that the new generation mini could arrive sooner than later has now been dashed," he proclaimed.

Hope dashed. Retina display depression at epidemic levels.

"Stock of the current iPads had been dwindling at retailers Best Buy and MacMall for weeks even as the two slashed prices by as much as thirty dollars in an attempt to get the remaining inventory to disappear even more quickly," he explained. "Apple and its retail partners were blowing out remaining iPad mini stock as fast as they could, and it appeared certain that the iPad mini 2 would soon follow, complete with its Retina Display and other new features, along with the full sized iPad 5."


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