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7″ Panel Orders Overtake 9.7″ Shipments as iPad 2 Production Gears Down

7″ Panel Orders Overtake 9.7″ Shipments as iPad 2 Production Gears Down

The growing interest in 7-inch tablets such as those from Amazon and Barnes & Noble has led to a jump in panel shipments. This has occurred even as Apple is believed to be winding down production of the iPad 2.

Reports are that 7-inch panel orders have surpassed those of 9.7-inch panels, says AppleInsider.

Taiwan’s DigiTimes claimed on Thursday that “sources from panel players” indicated a strong boost in purchases of 7-inch panels in November, enough to push the supply volume past that of 9.7-inch panels bound for the iPad and other similarly-sized tablets. Shipments of the component reportedly grew 17 percent in one month as Amazon readied its Kindle Fire tablet and Barnes & Noble ramped up production of its Nook Tablet.

Additionally, the report stated, “As for 9.7-inch panels, due to Apple reportedly being ready to launch the next-generation iPad in the first half of 2012, the company’s purchasing of the panel for the existing model dropped in November, but may start to pick up again as the company will need to prepare panels for the new models.”

It is believed that Apple is in the middle of a transition away from production of the iPad 2 as it prepares for the 3rd gen iPad. The new iPad is expected to arrive early next year. DigiTimes claims the time frame will be March or April 2012, although one analyst claims it could be as early as February.

Some analyst have pulled back on their iPad estimates for the fourth quarter, as early sales of the Kindle Fire suggest the iPad may have met its first mainstream tablet competitor. Amazon reported last week that it had sold “millions”, but did not go into details.

According to research firm IDC, the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet will drive an expected 8 percent jump in market share for the Android platform, and they expect the iPad to fall from 61.5 percent of the market down to 59 percent.

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