Apple is said to release a low-priced iPad and will partner with Chinese players to reduce production costs, boosting this new product’s competitive edge. From a cost reduction point of view, it is reasonble that Apple wants to switch to Chinese suppliers for required cheaper components such as LED
chips and touch modules used in LCD panels.
Apple’s iPad still has a significant market share and enjoys a higher profit margin compared to other tablets, which is a great benefit for its suppliers. Apple has mostly been using Japanese manufacturers’ LEDs in its iPad and iPhone.
If Apple really turns to Chinese LED suppliers for its cheaper iPad, production costs are expected to be lower. Apple is expected to launch the cheaper 9.7-inch iPad in the first half of 2017 and can be shipped in the first quarter. Then the company will launch two high-end models: the 10.5-inch iPad and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The smaller version, the iPad Mini, may not be updated.
Taiwan’s TPK and GIS are major suppliers of iPad's touch panel. But O-Film, a new touch panel maker from China, will be one of the suppliers for touch stuff.
As for LCD panels, the main suppliers have been Japan’s Sharp and South Korea-based LGD. But China’s display panel maker BOE is said to present samples and may join Apple’s supply chain in the second half of 2017.