Apple tablet supply chain points to Q2 launch

Christmas PD5FM $10 discount“Suppliers for Apple Inc’s new tablet computer have begun shipping touchscreen panels and will start delivering aluminum casings for it next month, sources said, implying a second-quarter product launch,” Kelvin Soh reports for Reuters.

“AVY Precision Technology Inc, a Taiwanese manufacturer of covers for electronic products, will begin production of the cases in February, two sources familiar with the situation said on Friday,” Soh reports. “TPK Solutions, an unlisted touch screen panel maker also based in Taiwan will also supply panels for the product, a third source said, on top of those already being manufactured by another Taiwan company, Wintek Corp.”

Soh reports, “‘Production of the cases will begin in February, so everything points to a second-quarter launch right now,’ said one of the sources. ‘It doesn’t take that long for the company to assemble the PC together, but a second-quarter shipment date is what we’re looking at now.'”

Soh reports, “The sources declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Apple’s spokesman would not comment. Officials at AVY and TPK also declined to comment.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Are you sure Apple’s spokesman wouldn’t comment? Ask him again, Kelvin. wink

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Mike in Helsinki” for the heads up.]

19 Comments

  1. @feral

    The article is referring to Second quarter, not the Third. Apple just concluded their First quarter.

    So we can probably expect the tablet to ship by the end of March, and not June.

  2. G4Dualie,

    I doubt they are referring to Apple’s fiscal second quarter, since that would require casual reader to actually know when does Apple’s fiscal year start.

    I’m sure they meant second quarter of calendar year 2010. That would mean as early as April, or as late as end of June.

  3. That wouldn’t be that surprising. As with the iPhone, wouldn’t a new tablet device with a wireless interface like 3G need to go to the FCC for approval? Would Apple not wait until after it has actually announced the product before they sent the details to such an organisation?

  4. @media

    It is conceivable to create a tablet devoid of telephony. Some would disagree, thinking the tablet must be a fully-contained communicator. True enough, my previous Mac had a modem, even though I used broadband. Now the modem is optional. I should think broadband will one day replace radio communications as we know it.

    If Apple were in fact developing a CDMA phone for Verizon, then why not use the iPhone to tether to the tablet? No wires necessary and the phone could stay in your pocket, purse, or briefcase, and you could use the tablet to answer incoming calls.

    The tablet wouldn’t be confined to one or two carriers either, and any phone could work, theoretically.

    Besides, there will be days when carrying a tablet around with you could get annoying, especially if doesn’t fit comfortably in your pocket. What choice would you have though, if your tablet is your only means of telecommunication? I guess we’ll either start start wearing man purses or the clothing industry will create large pockets.

    I suspect though, you’ll have both telephony and tethering for the tablet, so you’re covered either way.

  5. @G4Dualie

    Agree, but since Apple don’t traditionally announce vapourware, if a tablet were to be announced later this months, but not ship until potentially June, then that would suggest something like mobile network capability or similar.

    Lots of “ifs” in there though, but it is fun to speculate…

  6. Speculation, conjecture & rumor…

    All of the ingredients for a nice, juicy article…. but, no facts (omfg… that’s what stories used to be based on).

    Get the facts straight before you start rumor-mongering.

  7. @Predrag

    I doubt they are referring to Apple’s fiscal second quarter,

    Who’s they? The journalists or the channel partners?

    Channel partners, their comptrollers, and production facilities think exclusively in fiscal years, not calendar years. They’re fiscally driven and everything is coordinated around fiscal budgets.

    So isn’t it possible that you and the journalists might be taking for granted the Suppliers are talking about the calendar year?

    After all, the rumors are keyed in on March, not June. What remains to be see is whether this device contains circuitry that requires FCC approval. If so, then June is reasonable.

    If the veracity of the rumors is to be believed though and we can expect a tablet in March, does that mean it lacks telephony.

    I wonder who originally said March and did they assume fiscal year or calendar?

  8. @fandango

    It’s called forward thinking, putting all the pieces together like Sherlock Holmes does to solve the mystery. It sure beats sitting on the sidelines and throwing stones.

    (omfg… that’s what stories used to be based on)

    Non-fiction maybe, but this is science fiction and Reuters is spacey anyway.

  9. Get the facts straight before you start rumor-mongering.

    When you have facts, why monger at all?

    Some take great delight in using a single fact to create a rumor that really requires dozens of supporting facts to be true. That’s where I come in. I like playing Sherlock Holmes.

    Apparently you don’t because you lack any imagination beyond the cold hard facts. So why spoil it for the rest of us?

  10. Generally, Apple likes to space out product intros by month for updates, but quarters for larger product intros.

    The next iPhone is due at the end of the 2nd CY quarter or start of the 3rd. I suppose a new device could be launched in Q2, but they’d have to be careful not to let it get too close to the launch of their next iPhone. I think launching the new device at the end of March makes most sense given Apple’s usual attempt to manage the flow of product intros.

  11. Spent some time in my local Apple Retail Store today talking to some veteran managers there. While they kept the company line of saying they never knew what, if, or when something new was going to arrive they did say that the usual things that happen before a new product launch were NOT, in fact, happening yet.

    We’re going to have to wait some more for the long-awaited tablet.

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