iPad Mini apparently enters production, instantly hits supply problems

Sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal have said that components for the device we currently know as the iPad Mini have entered mass production. As with everything iPad Mini related, the sources are anonymous but “familiar with the situation.”

The report says it’s the device’s touchscreens that are being built, and again speculates that they will measure 7.85-inches, and have a lower resolution than the 9.7-inch iPad.

However, previous rumors have suggested the iPad Mini will share the new iPad’s 2048 x 1536 pixel Retina screen, and that production was supposed to start in August.

This news comes soon after a quote from an anonymous Apple investor, who in turn was quoting from a gaggle of unnamed sources, said invitations to the press event for the iPad Mini’s announcement would appear on October 10. An October launch has been on the cards for a while, but then, so was a joint iPhone 5/iPad Mini event.

Supply problems

But, nobody said making a hypothetical product was going to be easy, as no sooner had the elves begun working on the iPad Mini, than those ever problematic supply problems arrived. This time it’s Brian White, an analyst for Topeka Capital Markets with the inside gossip, saying that suppliers had found the iPad Mini’s specification a “challenge” and that the production had suffered because of it.

This, White says, is the reason for the iPad Mini’s delayed launch.

He goes on to talk about “continued yield challenges” — supply chain geek talk for producing the right number of products, at the right time, to make the most profit — before adding that while the iPad Mini is “on track to reach acceptable volume levels for launch,” there will be supply problems “during the first month or so.”

In other words, demand will likely outstrip supply, which is just the way Apple likes it.

The iPad Mini is supposed to be Apple’s response to the popularity of budget tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7. For this reason, if it does ever arrive, the price will most probably be the primary talking point, and it’s expected to be no more than $300.

We’ll know more on October 10, or not, as the case may be.