The Wall Street Journal has been doing a fair bit of Apple rumor-mongering lately. Last week, it reported that production of an unannounced, 7.85" iPad was already underway, with LG and AU Optronics churning out LCD panels for the device. Now, the Journal's Digits blog has word that Apple suppliers are building up stock ahead of the launch—and quite substantially so:
Some component suppliers to Apple in Asia say they have received orders to make more than 10 million units of the smaller tablets in the fourth quarter. That is roughly double the order that were placed for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets in the same quarter, these suppliers say.
The Journal says these figures suggest demand for the bite-sized iPad will be "strong." Yeah, no kidding.
For reference, Apple shipped about 17 million regular-sized iPads last quarter. That included shipments of both the Retina-infused new iPad and the cheaper, standard-PPI iPad 2. As for the Kindle Fire, I don't believe Amazon has made its sales and shipment numbers public. However, according to an analyst quoted by Forbes in July, Kindle Fire shipments may add up to 13.5 million units this year.