Low Touchscreen Yields Reportedly Contributing to iPad Mini Pricing
Digitimes reports that one of the primary reasons that Apple was unable or unwilling to launch the iPad mini at a price below $329 is ongoing difficulties with touchscreen production as Apple transitions to new "GF2 Dito" technology.
The sources said the DITO film sensor is having mass production issues, which has been a big contributor to why the device is approximately 40-50% more expensive compared to other 7-inch tablets that have OGS or G/G structures.
The sources said that GF2 touch screen modules are only about roughly US$5 cheaper than G/G ones for the 9.7-inch iPad models.
Apple's transition to the new touch structure was mentioned by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo back in late August, with Kuo noting that hurdles experienced in that transition were one of the primary reasons that prevented Apple from launching iPad mini earlier than it did.
Today's report also notes that supply chain sources are continuing to see orders for the iPad 2 extending as far as the first quarter of next year, suggesting that Apple will indeed keep that model available for some time. One analyst had speculated last week that Apple might drop the iPad 2 in favor of the iPad mini in order to maintain a streamline product lineup, but at its media event this week the company was clear that the iPad 2 at $399 Wi-Fi/$529 cellular remains an integral part of its iPad portfolio even as the third-generation iPad has been discontinued.