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Analysts predict iPad 2 shortages after earthquake

Fri, 03/18/2011 - 11:05am
The Associated Press

Market research group IHS iSuppli said Friday that last week's earthquake in Japan could cause shortages of Apple Inc.'s iPad 2 tablet computer.

The iSuppli analysts, who regularly do "teardown" analyses to determine what components are used inside consumer electronics, said they have identified at least five parts that come from Japan: storage and memory from Toshiba Corp. and Elpida Memory Inc., an electronic compass from AKM Semiconductor, touch-screen overlay glass that is likely from Asahi Glass Co. and a battery from Apple Japan Inc.

ISuppli said some of these suppliers have said their facilities were not damaged by the earthquake or tsunami. However, they will likely be affected in some way by the resulting logistical problems in Japan, including intermittent electricity and hurdles to transporting raw materials and shipping out products, iSuppli said.

Aftershocks may also keep semiconductor facilities offline, iSuppli said.

The research group said Asahi Glass reported damage to several of its facilities.

Apple can order some of the components from alternate suppliers, the analysts said, including Samsung Electronics Co. in South Korea and Micron Technology Inc. in the U.S. But iSuppli said it would be harder to find substitutes for the glass — which it believes is a new type of glass called Dragontrail from Asahi — and the compasses.

Apple is already facing more demand than expected for the iPad 2. Many stores sold out the first weekend it went on sale, and now people who order online will wait four or five weeks for the gadget to ship.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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