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March 18, 2011

iPad 2 supply could suffer due to Japanese quake

by Darren Allan

The devastating earthquake in Japan is bound to affect electronic component suppliers, as we heard earlier this week.

Widespread disruption to power and transport networks has caused trouble for manufacturing plants even though they weren’t directly hit by the quake or tsunami. iSuppli has already fingered Panasonic LCD panels, the Nintendo DS and LG smartphones as possible candidates for prolonged disruption.

And now it seems that iSuppli reckons the iPad 2, to be launched in the UK a week today, will be hit by Japanese component shortages, a Wall Street Journal report points out.

The WSJ reckons that part shortages of the compass and battery, which are produced in Japan, could further constrain the availability of the iPad 2. It also suggests the touchscreen panel may also be affected, and the flash memory, too.

All of which doesn’t bode well for the supply of the tablet sequel, which pretty much completely sold out over the US during its launch last weekend. Analysts reckon anywhere between 400,000 and 800,000 units, possibly more, were shifted in that first weekend, the majority in the first 24 hours.

Stock issues are ongoing in the US, and it makes you wonder come next week’s UK launch, exactly how many iPad 2s will be available. The US Apple online store is still quoting 4 to 5 weeks for shipping the iPad 2.

Expect some serious queues come next Friday, and then a whole bunch of new eBay auctions, as those who’ve bought one (or two) just to price gouge try to flog off their wares and make a hundred quid profit or so.

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