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Barclays cuts iPad shipment estimates on screen shortage

TAIPEI--British bank Barclays Plc. has lowered its estimates for shipments of Apple Inc.'s iPads in the first quarter of 2014 because of a shortage of the retina display used in the second-generation iPad mini.

First-quarter iPad shipments are now forecast to total 19 million to 20 million units, down from Barclays' prior projection of 20 million to 22 million units.

The revised shipments consist of 2 million units of the iPad 2, 7 million units of the iPad Air, 6 million to 7 million units of the original iPad mini, and 4 million units of the iPad mini with Retina display, according to the bank's forecast.

“We do not expect the new iPad series to provide upside (factors) and believe iPad mini with Retina will see a bottleneck from the panel shortage,” Kirk Yang, head of technology hardware research for Asia except Japan at Barclays, said in a note to clients.

The iPad product lines, including the new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, are assembled by Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and Pegatron Corp.

The retina display of the new iPad mini is supplied by South Korea's LG Display Co., according to an analysis by U.S. website iFixit.

Barclays' Yang also cut his projection for iPhone shipments in the January-March period from 42 million-44 million units to 40 million-42 million units.

They include 28 million-30 million units of the iPhone 5S, 8 million units of the iPhone 5C, and 4 million units of the iPhone 4S.

He did not explain the reason for the revision.

Apple unveiled the thinner iPad Air and sharper iPad mini 2 with Retina display on Oct. 23 in the United States in a move to take on tougher competition from makers of tablets running on Google Inc.'s Android operating system.

Taiwan's three biggest carriers yesterday began selling the Wi-Fi plus cellular models of the new iPads, which start at NT$11,990 (US$405) for a 16GB iPad Air and NT$9,590 for a 16GB iPad mini 2 if consumers sign a three-year contract.

Consumer interest in the cellular models, however, was “less enthusiastic” than for the original iPad mini, which hit Taiwanese stores in January 2013, according to Chunghwa Telecom Co., Taiwan's largest mobile provider.

Q3 Slide Partly Caused by Postponed Product Launch

The U.S. company remained the top global tablet vendor with shipments of 14.1 million units in the third quarter but its market share slid to a record low of 29.6 percent.

The slide was caused in part by its decision in late 2012 to postpone its product launches from early 2013 to the fourth quarter, according to data from tech-tracking firm IDC.

Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea was in second place, with shipments of 9.7 million units and a 20.4-percent share of the worldwide market.

Taiwan-based Asustek Computer Inc., which makes the Nexus 7 for Google, came in third place with a 7.4-percent share of the market. It shipped 3.5 million tablets in the July-September period, up 53.9 percent year-on-year, IDC's statistics showed.

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