first_imgAfter a report yesterday that showed the Nexus 7 is now more popular than the iPad in Japan, Sharp has apparently cut iPad display production to minimum levels at the request of Apple. That means it is only manufacturing just enough panels to keep the assembly line going. Neither Apple or Sharp would comment on the situation, but it is thought demand for Apple’s iPad is greatly reduced at the moment.Shipments of the iPad are expected to fall as much as 40 percent in the run up to March. That’s around 8 million iPads compared to 13 million for the last quarter of 2012. The reason for this reduction could be the popularity of the iPad mini taking sales away from the larger tablet, growing competition from other manufacturers, consumers losing interest in the iPad, or just the time of year and a post holiday season slump.It’s not just iPad components Apple is cutting back on, though. Last week we discovered iPhone 5 component orders were also being cut in half. A range of iPhone parts have seen order cuts, with LG Display, Japan Display, and Sharp all suffering due to the iPhone 5 display order being halved.If demand for Apple’s devices continues to weaken, then it could force the company to react and launch new versions quicker over the coming months. Typically we see a new iPhone and iPad once a year, where as competitors continue to produce new hardware aimed at different segments of the market. There’s also the question of whether Apple would consider offering cheaper versions of its products, for example, an iPhone 5 C$269.63 at Amazon that can compete on price with the Nexus 4.via Reuterslast_img