The decline in 9.7-inch panels came after Apple adjusted purchases in January this year, following what indicators suggest had been a large number of panel orders in December 2012. Apple has an agreement with its panel suppliers to buy a certain quantity of panels every year, and the big December movement suggests that Apple had fallen short of ordering during the January to November time frame.
The 9.7-inch size was not unique among tablet panels experiencing a downturn during the period, as other sizes also saw a contraction in monthly shipments. The 8.9-inch, used in the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, retreated by an even larger 92 percent. Overall, tablet shipments in January fell 26 percent to 15.23 million units, down from 20.50 million a month earlier.
An exception to the general slump in tablet panels was the 7.9-inch category used by the iPad mini. It's said that Apple's demand for the smaller panel rose to 5.42 million units, up 14% from 4.75 million units.
Global shipments of large sized LCD panels in January reached 60.48 million units, down 20% from December but 14% higher than January 2012.