March 20, 2011

Apple Faces iPad 2 Delays From Japan Disasters

Apple could face shortages of components for the iPad 2 because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

"The aftermath of the Japanese earthquake may cause logistical disruptions and supply shortages in Apple Inc.'s iPad 2, which employs several components manufactured in the disaster-stricken country," according to an IHS iSuppli statement.

IHS iSuppli said the components included the battery from Apple Japan, an electronic compass from AKM Semiconductor, NAND flash memory from Toshiba, DRAM dynamic random access memory from Elpida Memory and touchscreen glass "likely" from Asahi Glass.

According to the firm, which conducted a "teardown" analysis of the iPad 2, some of the suppliers were undamaged but they were likely to face logistical difficulties as well as problems getting raw materials.

"The various challenges are being compounded by interruptions in the electricity supply, which can have a major impact on delicate processes, such as semiconductor lithography," IHS iSuppli said.

"These issues may come at a time when Apple is rushing to ramp up iPad 2 production to meet stronger-than expected demand for the device," it added.

IHS iSuppli said some of the materials used in the iPad 2 could be found elsewhere.  It said NAND flash memory is available from South Korea's Samsung and Micron Technology of the U.S.

"Similarly, the Elpida DRAM component can be alternatively sourced from Samsung," it said.

The new version of Apple's popular iPad line went on sale in the U.S. last week and is scheduled to hit stores in around two dozen other countries on March 25.

Apple announced earlier this week that it was delaying the release of the iPad 2 in Japan due to the disaster.


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