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AUO working with Apple on smaller iPad: WSJ report

TAIPEI -- Taiwan-based panel maker AU Optronics Co. (AUO) is working with Apple Inc. to mass-produce a new iPad with a smaller screen, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, but both companies declined to confirm the report.

Apple has several suppliers that include AUO and LG Display Co. (LGD) of South Korea, the report said, citing two anonymous sources.

It said the two Asian suppliers are getting ready for mass production in September and that the release date of the smaller iPadis close.

The new tablet's screen is likely to be smaller than eight inches compared with Apple's other tablets, which were all designed at 9.7 inches, the WSJ reported, citing the anonymous sources.

A Taiwan-based research firm said that the market has been buzzing about the new device, which is likely to have a screen size of 7.85 inches.

“The first batch of panels is expected to be shipped by LGD this month and by AUO in August,” said Eric Chiou, director of research at WitsView.

He estimated that LGD will supply about 60 percent of the panels for Apple's new tablet, while AUO will supply the other 40 percent.

Shipments of iPad 2, New iPad and the small screen iPad will reach 59.6 million units in 2012, with the smaller version accounting for 15 percent of the total, he forecast.

AUO is the second Taiwanese panel maker, after Chimei Innolux, to enter Apple's tablet supply chain, which is a positive sign for AUO 's development, Chiou said.

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