meet the demand for its recently launched iPad 2, and is suffering from supply-related issues, as several parts used within the device – including its touch panel – come from Japan, a country recently affected by earthquakes and tsunamis. Earlier this week, DigiTimes reported that Apple was in talks with a slew of alternate touch panel suppliers, in order to secure enough units to keep iPad 2 production levels unchanged. The report mentioned that the company was even considering paying a temporary premium to these suppliers, to make sure it was given priority over its competitors. Foxconn, the company that assembles the iPad 2 on behalf of Apple, should receive its first shipments of additional panels soon, as according to a new report from DigiTimes, Taiwan-based Sintek Photronics already started to ship additional touch sensors for iPad 2 earlier this month. Digitimes also adds that “touch panel suppliers indicated that Apple expects stronger than expected demand for iPad 2 but the current situation indicates no possible shortage from the supply chain.” In other words, Apple already secured enough parts suppliers to cope with the incredible demand for the device, and the current shortages experiences across the U.S. could soon be a thing of the past. Sintek Photronics has been building capacitive touch panels for a while, for customers such as Samsung, but was added to Apple’s list of suppliers only recently, in order to help boost the iPad 2 production output. In order to achieve its shipment goal of 40 million iPad 2s in 2011 alone, Apple has already booked over 60 percent of the worldwide touch panel capacity – this number is not expected to decrease until the demand for the iPad 2 starts to drop.