iPad mini production ramping up ahead of October launch

By Lee Kaelin on

Apple’s much-rumored iPad mini is set for release before Christmas, according to the latest rumors coming from Focus Taiwan. The publication cites an analyst working for British bank Barclays PLC who believes Pegatron will build and ship 3 million of the smaller iPads, with availability pegged for sometime during fourth quarter of 2012.

That will reportedly account for around 30% of the total production for the so-called iPad mini. The Taiwanese manufacturer was previously expected to handle 70% of the orders but that estimate was revised down due to poor yield rates and other factors like the company’s relative inexperience with building tablets. Apparently a narrower bezel, which allows for a larger screen in the 7.85-inch form factor, has been causing relatively lower assembly yield rate compared to the 9.7-inch iPad.

Taiwan's Hon Hai will build the remaining 6 million to 7 million units of the iPad mini planned for 2012.

“Unlike Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Pegatron lacks the experience for tablet assembly, which has a long learning curve,” Kirk Yang, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Barclays said. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn, is reportedly manufacturing iPad mini tablets at facilities in Brazil. “As most iPad component vendors ramp up shipments in September that would continue into the fourth quarter of 2012, we do not see any signs of a postponed shipment schedule, suggesting an on-time October product launch,” Yang said.

Fortune says invitations for Apple’s launch event will be sent out on October 10, citing an unnamed Apple investor who reportedly heard it from “multiple sources.” If the rumor turns out to be correct, Cupertino will reveal the new iPad mini at a special event on Wednesday October 17.

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