Analyst: iPad mini suppliers ‘frustrated’ by Apple’s product requirements

Get ready for delays when first purchasing Apple’s still-unannounced but highly-expected iPad mini. That’s the word from one Wall Street analyst who tells investors today that suppliers are frustrated by Apple’s specifications for the 7.85-inch tablet. The concerns will likely create “supply constraints” which blunt the device’s full potential with consumers.

According to Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, building the smaller iPad design to respond to rival 7-inch tablets powered by Google’s Android operating system is no walk in the park for suppliers.” Despite the grumbling, the new iPad will “blow away what competitors are offering in this smaller form-factor tablet market,” he writes…

The supply problems not withstanding, White believes the iPad mini “is on track to reach acceptable volume levels for a launch over the next month.” Initial sales could be dampened “during the first month or so of the launch,” according to the analyst. The new iPad will be priced at $240-$300 and sell between 5 million and 7 million devices in the December three-month period.

Although some — including the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs — think that a smaller tablet could harm usability. White tries to assuage such concerns, saying despite the lower price, “we expect Apple to maintain the iconic aesthetics of the current iPad.” That said, the smaller iPad may have a lower screen resolution, leaving the sharp Retina display for the larger 9.7-inch iPad. According to The Wall Street Journal, the iPad mini is already in full production in China.

The rumor has it that Apple might invite the media to an announcement scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 10.

What do you think? Can Apple’s iPad mini compete in price and size without losing its winning product cache?