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Apple Said to Use AU Optronics, LG Display Screens in Mini IPad

An Apple Inc. store in New York. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg
An Apple Inc. store in New York. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. will use screens from AU Optronics Corp. and LG Display Co. for a smaller version of the iPad to be released in October, according to four people familiar with the plans.

TPK Holding Co. and Yeh Cheng Technology, a subsidiary of Foxconn Technology Group, will supply the lamination coating for the device that will measure 7.85 inches diagonally, said the people, who declined to be identified because the plans haven’t been made public. Current iPads measure 9.7 inches.

Offering a smaller tablet may help Apple hold onto share of a market it dominates in the face of new devices from Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. The orders will mark the first time AUO, a maker of panels for Apple’s MacBooks and Sony Corp. TVs, is supplying screens for Apple handheld devices.

Carolyn Wu, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. Sharp Corp. may make panels for the device in the future and will not be an initial supplier, three of the people said. Sharp spokesman Heihachiro Ochiai declined to comment.

Yawen Hsiao, spokeswoman for Hsinchu, Taiwan-based AUO, and Claire Ohm, a Seoul-based spokeswoman for LG Display, declined to comment. Freddie Liu, chief financial officer for Taipei-based TPK, and Simon Hsing, spokesman for Foxconn flagship Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., declined to comment.

IPad, Kindle Fire

Apple, which shipped 17 million iPads in the second quarter, had about 70 percent of the tablet market for the period, spurred by the release of a new iPad featuring a higher-resolution screen, researcher IHS said on Aug. 14. The smaller iPad will not have the higher-quality display, Bloomberg News reported in July.

Amazon said yesterday its Kindle Fire tablet sold out, a week before analysts expect the Seattle-based company to release a new version of its e-reader or tablet. Those devices will be priced “very competitively,” Kerry Rice, an analyst at Needham & Co. Inc., said last week.

A smaller iPad order could boost sales at AUO, Taiwan’s second-largest flat-panel maker, with Apple selling five times as many iPads as MacBooks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

LG Display and TPK are already suppliers for Apple’s handheld devices, which include the iPhone and iPad.

Yeh Cheng, a maker of touch-screen sensors and lamination, was spun off from Chimei Innolux earlier this year and sold to Hon Hai, said Chimei Innolux spokesman C.H. Lin. That division began supplying sensors for the iPad 2 last year, Bloomberg News reported in April 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Culpan in Taipei at tculpan1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net.

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