“Sharp Corp has nearly halted production of 9.7-inch screens for Apple Inc’s iPad, two sources said, as demand shifts to its smaller iPad mini,” Reiji Murai and Miyoung Kim report for Reuters.

“Sharp’s iPad screen production line at its Kameyama plant in central Japan has fallen to the minimal level to keep the line running this month after a gradual slowdown began at the end of 2012 as Apple manages its inventory, the industry sources with knowledge of Sharp’s production plans told Reuters,” Murai and Kim report. “The sources didn’t say how much of the slowdown was due to seasonal changes in demand or consumers opting for the smaller iPad mini and were unable to characterize Apple’s overall tablet sales.”

Murai and Kim report, “Any indication that iPad sales are struggling could add to concern that the appeal of Apple products is waning after earlier media reports said it is slashing orders for iPhone 5 screens and other components from its Asian suppliers… Apple, the reports said, has asked state-managed Japan Display, Sharp and LG Display to halve supplies of iPhone panels from an initial plan for about 65 million screens in January-March. Apple is losing ground to Samsung, as well as emerging rivals including China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp.”

MacDailyNews Take: Fictitious numbers. Please see:

• Japan’s Nikkei, The Wall Street Journal blow it, get iPhone demand story all wrong – January 16, 2013

• Apple supplier sees significant sales increase in Q4, likely positive sign for iPhone 5 demand – January 16, 2013

Analysts: iPhone 5 demand ‘robust;’ ignore the non-news noise – January 15, 2013

• The strange math of Apple’s alleged massive iPhone 5 component cuts – January 14, 2013

As for “losing ground”:

Market share is mistakenly being used by Wall Street [and Reuters reporters – MDN Ed.] as a proxy for platform value and dominance. According to comScore, as of November 2012, Android is ahead in market share at 52.6% versus Apple at 34.3%. However, Apple generated 71% of the entire mobile industry’s operating profits, according to Canaccord. In any other industry, the analysis would end right here, as investors and analysts would never seriously contend that market share is more important than profit share.Bert Danner, January 11, 2013

Oh, and BTW:

Raymond James analyst: Apple iPhone outsold Samsung 1.7 to 1 over the last 10 quarters – January 17, 2013

Apple iPhone takes 53.3% of U.S. smartphone sales, Android falls to 41.9% – January 7, 2013

Murai and Kim report, “In addition to Sharp, Apple also buys iPad screens from LG Display Co Ltd, its biggest supplier, and Samsung Display, a flat-panel unit of Samsung Electronics… A source at Samsung Display, however, said there had not been any significant change in its panel business with Apple, which has been steadily reducing panel purchases from the South Korean firm. A person who is familiar with the situation at LG Display said iPad screen production in the current quarter had fallen from the previous quarter ending in December, mainly due to weak seasonal demand that is typical after the busy year-end holiday sales period. Apple’s iPad sales may have suffered amid a weak Christmas shopping period that hurt other consumer gadget makers as well.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah. Or not. 4:30 pm EST next Wednesday cannot arrive soon enough.

Murai and Kim report, “Apple also faces stiffening competition in tablets from a growing crowd of rival products from makers including Samsung with its Galaxy and Microsoft Corp’s Surface.”

MacDailyNews Take: Holy fsck. Are they kidding? Is this a joke?

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The attack on Apple’s mind share and share price, which seems to be emanating out of Japan (first Nikkei and now these “industry sources with knowledge of Sharp’s production plans,” continues unrelentingly.

Related articles:
Apple executed huge initial iPhone 5, iPod touch production ramps for holiday quarter; dialing back display orders doesn’t necessarily equal popularity drops – January 16, 2013