Apple’s upcoming iPad Pro, featuring an OLED screen for the first time, is scheduled to be released in March or April. However, recent market reports suggest a potential 30% reduction in the estimated order volume, indicating Apple’s cautious outlook on the new product. It’s anticipated that suppliers in the supply chain such as LG Display (LGD), TSMC, Foxconn, and Novatek will also be affected.
Aju Korea Daily, citing industry sources, reported that Apple has reduced the OLED screen orders for its new iPad Pro. The initial order of 10 million units has been adjusted to a range of 7 million to 8 million units. LGD is expected to be the most impacted, with the supply scale decreasing from 6 million units to a minimum of 3 million units, while Samsung maintains a supply of 4 million units.
Industry speculation suggests that the reduction in the initial order may be due to a cautious outlook on the demand in the early stages of the product launch. The pricing of the new iPad Pro has not been determined, but it is likely to be higher than the current iPad with an LCD screen.
Historically, all iPad models from Apple have utilized LCD panels. However, this year’s release of the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models marks the first time Apple is incorporating OLED panels.
On another note, in addition to applying OLED screens to the iPad Pro this year, Apple reportedly plans to use them in future laptop products such as the MacBook. Therefore, the performance of the OLED iPad in terms of sales will serve as a significant market indicator for Apple’s future ventures into OLED technology.
Additionally, the adoption of OLED screens will result in an increase in the price of the iPad Pro. The loyalty of iPad consumers has traditionally been lower than that of iPhone users, posing a challenge for Apple in achieving strong performance this year.
The estimated order volume reduction is expected to have an impact on the iPad Pro supply chain, affecting key manufacturers such as TSMC, Foxconn, and Novatek.
According to sources cited by the Economic Daily News, TSMC is the exclusive supplier of Apple’s chips, while Foxconn is the main assembly plant for the iPad Pro. Novatek is a supplier of OLED screen driver ICs for the Korean market. However, the mentioned companies have refrained from commenting on specific clients and products.
Despite current market uncertainties, TSMC estimates that the semiconductor market will see a growth of over 10% this year, with the foundry industry expected to grow by 20%. TSMC’s financial performance is projected to outpace industry standards, demonstrating quarterly growth.
Novatek previously indicated that there might be competition in the OLED driver IC sector this year. Nevertheless, the company plans to continue its strategic focus on advanced products such as applications for foldable devices, OLED touch, and integrated touch and display driver ICs (TDDI).
As for Foxconn, the company is gradually entering the traditional off-season. Seasonal performance is expected to be similar to the past three years. In the first quarter of 2023, higher shipment volume resulting from the resumption of normal production in Chinese factories post-pandemic is anticipated to lead to a year-on-year decline in performance for the first quarter of this year.