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Apple reportedly cuts iPad orders by 25% for Q4 – or production shifts to Brazil

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Apple has reportedly cut its fourth-quarter iPad orders to China-based manufacturing partners by 25%, JP Morgan analysts Mark Moskowitz and Gokul Hariharan wrote in a research note on Sunday. According to Bloomberg, JP Morgan expects Hon Hai’s iPad 2 production to drop from 17 million units to 13 million units in the fourth quarter as a result of the cut, though Moskowitz did not adjust his earlier iPad shipment projections of 10.9 million units and 12 million units in the third and fourth calendar quarters as a result. Read on for more.

Speculation surrounding the reported production cuts vary greatly, and some theories are more likely than others — if JP Morgan’s report, which it says it has confirmed with multiple sources, is even accurate. Some suggest sales of Apple’s iPad 2 may be slowing or production could be cut ahead of the iPad 3 launch.

While Apple would certainly cut production in either of those cases, neither seems terribly likely. The iPad 2 is still selling almost as fast as Apple’s manufacturing partners can build it — Apple sold a record 9.25 million iPads into channels last quarter — and recent reports suggest the iPad 3 will launch in line with Apple’s annual release schedule next spring. Moreover, the iPad 2 continues to launch in new international markets where it is met with very high demand.

Another theory is that Apple over-ordered in an effort to lock up manufacturing capacity and limit supply for its competitors, and the company is now dropping orders down to more realistic ranges. This is certainly possible and while it would definitely upset Hon Hai, Apple would likely not see any negative response due to Foxconn’s reliance on Apple as a client.

What no reports seem to consider, however, is Brazil.

Here’s what this game of telephone might be missing: it’s entirely possible that this decrease in production at Hon Hai’s Chinese plants is very real, but the speculation surrounding the move could be way off base. Aolizio Mercadante, the Brazilian Minister of Science and Technology, confirmed to the press earlier this month that Foxconn’s Jundiaí, Brazil factory is ready to begin production.

While the manufacturer’s Brazilian factory is not expected to begin shipping iPad tablets until late in the fourth quarter according to earlier reports, no timeline has been confirmed by Apple or Foxconn, and this could certainly be behind JP Morgan’s reported 25% production cut if the firm’s anonymous sources aren’t high enough on the food chain.



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