LG saw 90% drop in iPad panel shipments in January

iPad 3 (flat, photos, hand, pinch zoom)

A new report out of China claims that LG Display saw shipments of its 9.7-inch iPad display panels drop 90% in January, from 6 million units in December all the way down to 600,000. The drop-off is said to be a main factor in LG’s poor performance in the month.

The reason for the order cuts? Well according to supply chain sources, it’s a combination of a few things including the fact that January was the first post-holiday month, the growing popularity of the iPad mini, and a general shift in the market to lower-priced tablets…

DigiTimes reports:

“LG Display’s panel shipments for the 9.7-inch iPad dropped to 600,000 units in January 2012, down from six million units in the previous month, according to industry sources.

The sources said the drop is largely due to the growing popularity of the iPad mini as well as to increasing demand for low-priced tablets. Additionally, January is traditionally a slow period for panel shipments, added the observers.”

The sources add that LG is still currently shipping 3.5-4 million iPad mini panels per month, but that number makes up a larger portion of their total panel shipments. The company is expected to rebound when Apple starts ramping up production for its next-gen iPad.

Speaking of which, recent reports suggest that the iPad 5 will be using the same thin film G/F2 touch screen structure as the iPad mini. If that’s true, then this slow-down could have something to do with the changing of display tech as Apple prepares for its new tablet.

Reports have disagreed thus far on a release date for the iPad 5, but the chatter seems to be leaning towards October. However, in the past month we’ve seen some pretty convincing rear shell and case leaks, indicating that the tablet’s launch could be much closer.

If that’s not the case, and Apple really is cutting down iPad panel orders due to weaker demand, expect to hear a lot about it from Wall Street over the next few days.