iPad 2 waits could be longer due to Japanese earthquake effects

first_imgThe physical and emotional damages of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami are tremendous, but other problems are now trickling down to consumers in the U.S., specifically those wanting to buy an Apple iPad 2. According to IHS iSuppli’s research, the aftermath may be causing logistical problems and supply shortages for the iPad 2. Apple utilizes a few components that are manufactured in Japan, including an electronic compass, the battery, and the advanced technology glass in the display. This, of course, could result in delays in restocking the device.iSuppli’s analysis of the iPad 2 has so far been able to identify five parts that are sourced from Japanese suppliers. There may be more than this, but the teardown analysis process can’t always identify the country of origin for each component. The five it does know include NAND flash from Toshiba, dynamic random access memory (DRAM) made by Elpida Memory, the electronic compass from AKM Semiconductor, the touch screen overlay glass from Asahi Glass, and the battery from Apple Japan.Even if the suppliers’ facilities weren’t damaged, there’s still the logistical problem of shipping the products, as well as in receiving raw materials they need to create their products. Employees are also having a hard time getting to work due to problems with the transportation system. Not only that but the electricity supply keeps being interrupted, which can have major effects on delicate processes like semiconductor lithography.Semiconductor facilities in Japan can’t get back to full production until the aftershocks stop. According to Dale Ford of IHS, earthquakes that range from 4 to 7 on the Richter scale will make it nearly impossible to restart the labs until the earthquakes stop happening so often. The equipment shuts down every time an earthquake tops 5.These issues happen to come at a bad time for Apple who’s rushing to get more iPad 2s produced due to the tablet’s stronger-than-expected demand. We reported earlier this week that shortages were pushing ship dates back four to five weeks.NAND flash and DRAM can most likely be sourced from other vendors, but replacing any lost production of the compass and glass components may be more difficult. The battery, which appears to be a custom design made in Apple’s own Japanese plant, will be even more difficult to find a backup supplier for, and it’s unlikely that they will find one available at this time.Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn has said it’s not currently experiencing any component shortages for the devices it’s assembling. DigiTimes reported that Foxconn should still have a two-to-three-week supply of needed components. Foxxconn emphasized that the company will not see any component shortages in the short term, and that they’ve already prepared backup suppliers. But what about the long term?Read more at iSuppli.last_img read more