iPad production cut in readiness for iPad 3

Apple’s reported to have slashed iPad production by a quarter, according to a research report from JP Morgan Chase.

It’s believed to be the first time the company’s made such a drastic cut. It implies that the company believes there are enough of the devices in the supply chain to meet demand before the iPad 3 launches.

The move could be a response to slower-than-expected sales of the iPad 2 across Europe, or could even indicate that the company now plans to launch the iPad 3 earlier than previously intended.

According to Bloomberg, several vendors have said that fourth-quarter orders have been cut 25 percent, with Hon Hai, for example, now expecting to ship 13 million units rather than 17 million.

However, JP Morgan says it doesn’t expect to lower its projections for the third and fourth quarters, which foresee between 10.9 million and 12 million units shipping.

Apple says it shipped 9.25 million iPads during the June quarter this year, about twice the number for the previous quarter.

There’s still no date for the launch of the iPad 3, although many observers expect it to appear before the end of the year. However, JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz recently suggested that the company need be in no hurry, given the poor state of the competition.