All that being said, I'm sure this will rapidly deteriorate ro a simple "chicken or the egg paradigm"."Apple considering price hikes" is a bit unclear. This is more of a "Apple is willing to pay more money" issue than "Apple is charging more" one.
It's important to point out that these 'price hikes' may not be passed on to consumers... This is simply a deal between Apple and manufacturers. Big companies often absorb temporary component price hikes without raising prices to consumers, in order to maintain an attractive, consistent (and still profitable) retail price.
It's quite easy to develop a market stifling fiasco out of this, even without consumer price increases! If Apple corners the market,(more or less) on panels, then Competitive products won't be produced, hence Apple doesn't raise consumer prices, but in turn sells more units, thereby making more money.Just a few weeks ago I think people were complaining that Apple is already taking up a large percentage of the panels and paying less. Which is pretty standard too, because if you can guarantee you are going to buy a lot of something you often get better deals - but most people here were pissed off at that.
Now what we have here is Apple saying that they'll pay more for the panels (likely from different suppliers now that Japan's production ability may be down) just to ensure they can still get what they need. Lots of people are going to be upset about this too.
spydercanopus - I will be really surprised if Apple increases their prices on the iPad2, iPhones, iPod Touches.
Surely even the site's chief Apple apologist / defender can grasp the concept of commodities manipulation in this scenario. Perhaps even understand that 60% of something is still a great majority. Toshiba has already been rung up on price fixing of memory modules, and so far as I know they're a big supplier of TFT product. Accordingly, they don't need much of a push to orient their pricing structure upward, even on their own tablet product.Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think someone buying 60% of the available supply from multiple manufacturers constitutes a breach of FTC rules. Especially not when there are many buyers.