Sunday, 16 December 2012

Apple iPad Mini Rumor-Machine


Apple iPad Mini Rumor-Machine

Let's take the iPad Mini Retina rumor-machine.

Retina chatter: A Retina iPad Mini is an intriguing prospect, but it's hardly a fait accompli. If it were, Apple would have announced one on October 23.So my guess is that any remotely tantalizing Retina rumor that surfaces will be picked up and propagated across the Apple universe.

Usually for good reason. Getting a 300-pixel-per-inch display into the Mini's tiny chassis is really, really hard. One phone call and any analyst at NPD DisplaySearch who analyze the display industry for a living will tell you this.So, a supply chain tidbit from DigiTimes, for example, that cites backlighting industry sources talking about a higher-resolution iPad Mini is definitely interesting.

A Retina Mini would require a smaller LED light apparatus than is used in conventional Retina-class displays, as the DigiTimes story alludes to.

DigiTimes: The Asia supply chain gossip sheet is invariably the source of more than a few rumors. The problem is it's accuracy is a reflection of the unpredictable supply chain it covers. I've discussed this with DisplaySearch analysts more than a few times.

It goes something like this. Some big component supplier gets an order from some big device maker, and a Taipei newspaper reports it. Then a few months pass and said supplier runs into a serious unexpected snag in ramping up production (like Sharp,trying to ramp up IGZO display production and failing initially).So the device maker has to turn to another supplier for a more practical solution.

As a result, the Taipei newspaper's story doesn't pan out. But that doesn't mean the newspaper was just passing along bogus rumors. It means it reported what it was hearing as a credible development at the time. These on-again, off-again scenarios occur constantly in the supply chain, according to DisplaySearch. And it's a real challenge for supply chain analysts to determine what is panning out and what isn't.

DigiTimes' problem is that it doesn't filter the rumors as well as, let's say, a DisplaySearch analyst would. But maybe that's not the intention anyway. Maybe DigiTimes feels it needs to pass along gossip as it hears it. Maybe that's what its Asia-based supply chain readership wants.And analysts are hardly infallible, either. Some analysts in the financial community come up with much whackier Apple theories, masquerading as erudite analysis, that end up being reported as credible speculation.

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