Apple in Talks with Alternate Suppliers to Secure Additional Touch Panels for iPad 2

Apple is struggling to meet the demand for its recently launched iPad 2, and may also be 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. As a result, according to Taiwan-based news outlet DigiTimes, Apple has been in talks with a slew of alternate touch panel suppliers, in order to secure enough units to keep iPad 2 production levels unchanged. The company is even considering paying a temporary premium to these suppliers, to make sure it is given priority over its competitors. While the price increase will most likely have an impact on Apple’s margins, as the iPad 2 will be more expensive to manufacture, it will also put pressure on Apple’s competitors, as touch panels will be more difficult to find, and will cost more. 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.