Analyst: Apple controls 60% of touchscreen supplyBy Matthew DeCarlo
Following the Japanese quake, many analysts predicted supply issues for Apple's iPad 2 and upcoming iPhone 5. In fact, just today Best Buy announced that it would postpone sales of the second-generation iPad because of "supply constraints," while the iPhone 5 might be delayed until the second half of 2011 instead of the usual early summer refresh.
To minimize the impact of shortages, Cupertino has reportedly been making aggressive moves to secure components from overseas suppliers. According to analyst Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities, Apple executives contacted suppliers "immediately" after the Japanese earthquake and offered upfront cash payments to ensure adequate supply.
Meanwhile, ThinkEquity analyst Rajesh Ghai writes that Apple has secured approximately 60% of the total available touch panel capacity. This jibes with a recent DigiTimes report that claimed Apple's control of the touchscreen market will cause Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to be delayed by a month, giving the iPad 2 a healthy head start.
It remains to be seen whether delays will materialize, but Ghai notes that Apple's primary manufacturing source, Hon Hai, doesn't expect any shortages. Furthermore, he mentions that bumping the iPhone 5 to a fall launch could prove beneficial as it would give Apple more time to polish the handset, which would arrive during a stronger shopping season.