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Analyst says iPad 2 supply may be affected by earthquake in Japan

According to a report from IHS iSuppli, following the devastation that struck Japan on March 11th, the manufacture and supply chain of components used to make the iPad 2 have been “severely disrupted”.

The report indicates that the new tablet uses five components sourced from manufacturers in Japan. Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn has stated that their are no current component shortages and the device will be able to continue production with their 2-3 week supply of parts.

Companies like Toshiba Corp supply the NAND flash used in the device while the DRAM, electronic compass, touch screen glass and system battery are all produced in Japan. The battery technology used in the tablet is unlikely to be able to be sourced from anywhere else. Korean alternatives could be sought for the iPad 2’s DRAM and NAND flash however.

The IHS iSuppli report does say that many of the manufacturers necessary in iPad 2 production remain in operation despite the devastating earthquake, tsunami and threat of radiation. That said Japan is still suffering from blackouts and major logistics issues as the country struggles to rebuild its infrastructure.

IHS iSuppli has said that Apple would likely face difficulties in finding manufacturing alternatives to the Japanese components used in the iPad 2.

Principal analyst Jeremie Bouchaud said “The iPad 2’s compass works in close coordination with the tablet’s accelerometer and gyroscope. This makes it impossible to simply replace one manufacturer’s compass with another,”

Apple is set to launch the iPad 2 in the UK on March 25th but could see potential shortages almost immediately after launch. The tablet has already sold a rumoured 500,000 devices and now almost sold out entirely in the US. Current US waiting lists for the device are around 4-5 weeks.

Source: Mac Rumors

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