Japanese disaster could leave Apple with shortage of five key iPad 2 components

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Investment and research firms this week continue with their efforts to quantify the effect the recent Japanese earthquake will have on Apple and its capacity to manufacture its top-selling products, with the latest report identifying five core iPad 2 components likely sourced from the region.



In particular, iSuppli is reporting that its teardown analysis of the iPad 2 so far has been able to identify the following parts sourced from Japanese suppliers:

NAND flash from Toshiba Corp.;

dynamic random access memory (DRAM) made by Elpida Memory Inc.;

an electronic compass from AKM Semiconductor;

the touch screen overlay glass likely from Asahi Glass Co;

and the system battery from Apple Japan Inc.

"While some of these suppliers reported that their facilities were undamaged, delivery of components from all of these companies is likely to be impacted at least to some degree by logistical issues now plaguing most Japanese industries in the quake zone," said iSuppli's analyst Andrew Rassweiler.



More specifically, Rassweiler said that suppliers are expected to encounter difficulties in obtaining raw materials supplied and distributed as well as in shipping out products. They also are facing difficulties with employee absences because of problems with the transportation system, he added.



Such challenges are reportedly being compounded by interruptions in the electricity supply, which could have a major impact on delicate processes, such as semiconductor lithography. In addition, semiconductor facilities in Japan that had suspended manufacturing activities following the quake "cannot truly commence full production again until the aftershocks cease," according to the report.



“Earthquakes ranging from 4 to 7 on the Richter scale will make it impossible to really restart these fabs until the earthquakes stop happening with such frequency,” said Dale Ford of IHS. “Every time a quake tops 5, the equipment automatically shuts down.”



While Apple multi-sources both the NAND flash and DRAM components from multiple suppliers, which should help the company mitigate the effect of shutdowns at Toshiba and Elpida, it's the other three components that could pose the most trouble for the iPad maker in the short term.



According to Rassweiler, the compass and glass supply could prove to be more problematic for Apple. He said that even though AKM said its fab that produces the electronic compass used in the iPad 2 was undamaged by the quake, the company's shipments are likely to be impacted by the same logistical issues that will plague all Japanese industries during the short term.



Similarly, while compasses are available from other sources including Yamaha, Aichi Steel, Alps and STMicroelectronics, those components are reportedly not easily replaceable.



“The calibration of electronic compasses is tricky for a number of reasons,” said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS. “Compasses are sensitive to electromagnetic interference. Furthermore, 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.”







Meanwhile, Apple's supplier of glass used in the iPad 2’s touch screen overlay cannot be confirmed with certainty, leading iSuppli to speculate that Asahi Glass of Japan -- which reported damage to three of its Japanese facilities -- is indeed that supplier given the concurrent release of the iPad 2 and the glass maker's new Dragontrail Glass technology. Rassweiler notes that his firm's proprietary tests found the iPad 2 glass is more flexible and durable than the glass used in the iPad 1, further indicating that the glass is Asahi’s Dragontrail.



Finally, the analyst said that while the iPad 2’s three-cell battery pack is labeled “assembled in China," this label refers to the whole battery pack and further investigation showed the battery itself was made by Apple Japan, which operates as a subsidiary of Apple.



“Typically, battery cells are made at the site of assembly but because the iPad 2’s lithium-ion polymer battery is unusually thin, it likely requires advanced battery cell manufacturing technologies that reside in Japan,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst, competitive analysis, at IHS.



The potential component supply issues arrive just as Apple is attempting to crank up production of the iPad 2, introduced just days before the Japanese disaster struck. A similar report from earlier this week suggested the matter could see Apple face shortages of both its iPad 2 and iPhone 4 throughout March and into the June quarter.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 124
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    maybe i should sell my 64gb wifi white for $2000?
  • Reply 2 of 124
    Sorry for duplicate, can't figure out how to delete this post
  • Reply 3 of 124
    I'm sorry, but if this company is doing so much research about who makes what, where, then why do they not specify WHERE IN JAPAN these plants are? A generalized fear of earthquakes, transportation, electricity may not apply if the manufacturing is nowhere near where the quakes are occurring. Japan is not 20 miles wide. All the problems cited in this article would be region specific, and there is NO information whatsoever about this. If there is an earthquake in Los Angeles, it may not even affect San Francisco.
  • Reply 4 of 124
    rabbit_coachrabbit_coach Posts: 1,114member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by montefuego View Post


    I'm sorry, but if this company is doing so much research about who makes what, where, then why do they not specify WHERE IN JAPAN these plants are? A generalized fear of earthquakes, transportation, electricity may not apply if the manufacturing is nowhere near where the quakes are occurring. Japan is not 20 miles wide. All the problems cited in this article would be region specific, and there is NO information whatsoever about this. If there is an earthquake in Los Angeles, it may not even affect San Francisco.



    You are absolutely right. but mentioning it twice, doesn't make your argument any stronger.
  • Reply 5 of 124
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post


    You are absolutely right. but mentioning it twice, doesn't make your argument any stronger.



    Thanks, I can't figure out how to delete the duplicate
  • Reply 6 of 124
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    http://macdailynews.com/2011/03/17/a...er-fairytales/



    buying opportunity,



    I'll wait and see, time will tell
  • Reply 7 of 124
    This is quite a bummer. I went to the Apple store in the meatpacking district and they only received wifi and verizon ones. They also cut off the line very early (maybe at 30). The Apple store in SoHo received none :-/



    99.89 % of the 30 chosen were Chinese.



    Why not limit purchase to 1 per person? They will sell out anyway.....
  • Reply 8 of 124
    bc kellybc kelly Posts: 148member
    .



    What caught my eye, and perhaps more significant in long run





    "... advanced ... manufacturing technologies that reside in Japan?





    Doubt that refers to $5.00 a day sweat shop laborers working some assembly line



    So why aren't we doing that here in USA ?



    Oh, forgot ...



    Our Nation Public School Systems are 93rd in World in Math and Science

    (or something like that)



    But our Football and Basketball and Baseball Programs are # 1

    (yes, we're Number 1, we're Number 1)



    And, we have Star Search - is THE route to Fame and Fortune

    (or might hit the Lotto)



    Yea, silly Japanese, what do they know



    Now, what was that TV channel for March Madness ?



    .







    .
  • Reply 9 of 124
    whozownwhozown Posts: 128member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


    maybe i should sell my 64gb wifi white for $2000?



    You'd get it too, I've seen them on eBay go for a little under double of the original price. I have the white 3G but I just like watching people squirm to get one.
  • Reply 10 of 124
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kravemas View Post


    This is quite a bummer. I went to the Apple store in the meatpacking district and they only received wifi and verizon ones. They also cut off the line very early (maybe at 30). The Apple store in SoHo received none :-/



    99.89 % of the 30 chosen were Chinese.



    Why not limit purchase to 1 per person? They will sell out anyway.....



    You can't say that I didn't warn you about that yesterday.



    The chances of any normal person getting an iPad in New York City is extremely low. The best bet is probably just to order online and wait.



    And yeah, they should definitely limit it to 1 per person. And maybe also make onsite activation mandatory.
  • Reply 11 of 124
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BC Kelly View Post


    .



    What caught my eye, and perhaps more significant in long run





    "... advanced ... manufacturing technologies that reside in Japan?





    Doubt that refers to $5.00 a day sweat shop laborers working some assembly line



    So why aren't we doing that here in USA ?



    Oh, forgot ...



    Our Nation Public School Systems are 93rd in World in Math and Science

    (or something like that)



    But our Football and Basketball and Baseball Programs are # 1

    (yes, we're Number 1, we're Number 1)



    And, we have Star Search - is THE route to Fame and Fortune

    (or might hit the Lotto)



    Yea, silly Japanese, what do they know



    Now, what was that TV channel for March Madness ?



    .







    .



    Hey give the US a chance, we are only a couple of years in recovery after all those years of pro creationism and other anti-science madness. I think we are about 27th or thereabouts now. Hopefully we can do something serious about math and science teaching over the next few years. The Intel sponsored kids science fair was pretty cool the other day. One thing I do notice if how many more hours of class and homework kids in the leading math and science countries put in. In the end though it may be more about parental attitudes, in those countries teachers are respected and science isn't constantly being attacked as being liberal and leftist.
  • Reply 12 of 124
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    You can't say that I didn't warn you about that yesterday.



    The chances of any normal person getting an iPad in New York City is extremely low. The best bet is probably just to order online and wait.



    And yeah, they should definitely limit it to 1 per person. And maybe also make onsite activation mandatory.



    Yeah it just sucks, cause the people have no idea what the heck they are even buying (I am not buying the concept of some 90 year old Chinese woman buying an ipad 2, so spare me).



    I was out there at 4:30 am and was maybe 75th in line. The apple rep felt our frustration and urged us to leave feedback on Apple's web site.
  • Reply 13 of 124
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ?Compasses are sensitive to electromagnetic interference. Furthermore, 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.?



    By the way.. How does the compass fare in the iPad2 that is practically covered with magnets? Does it even work? I mean, it's bad as it is on the iPhone.
  • Reply 14 of 124
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas View Post


    By the way.. How does the compass fare in the iPad2 that is practically covered with magnets? Does it even work? I mean, it's bad as it is on the iPhone.



    That's a good thought. The more I think about it the concept of a device that shows the approximate position of the ever meandering magnetic north pole is quaint at best. In this age of GPS, satellites and triangulation capability I'd have thought we'd rely on digital bearings apps based on true north and leave the good old compass technology to the pirates. Or maybe we already do, I confess I have no idea if the iPhone compass is digital or magnetic ... I better do some research LOL
  • Reply 15 of 124
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kravemas View Post


    I was out there at 4:30 am and was maybe 75th in line. The apple rep felt our frustration and urged us to leave feedback on Apple's web site.



    The scalpers are already lining up 12 hours before the stores open, and camping out. They're organized and have huge groups of people at every single Apple store. They know more about what's going on than anybody else, because they are in communication with each other.



    They get paid about $140 for a wifi iPad and about $200 for an At&t iPad. So if they manage to get their hands on two At&t ipads, they're making $400, which the ringleader pays them. And they come back every single day and do the same exact thing. They have no interest in Verizon ipads, as those can't be used in most foreign markets.



    Limiting purchases to just one iPad would cut their wage in half. And making onsite activation mandatory would also put a big damper on their scheming and devious ways.



    Apple has tried to do something about the Asian scalpers in the past but Apple was warned by the Attorney General that they can't discriminate based on race. So Apple should find other ways to discriminate against them that is not racially based and implement methods to put a stop to those hoodlums.
  • Reply 16 of 124
    Hmmmm... maybe all of those people who braved the elements weren't so crazy after all...



    It would be a real bummer if the scalpers realized the potential for future shortfalls and really stepped up the pressure to buy all available units. Even ordering online wouldn't be a safe bet.



    Maybe I was right about Canada being a better bet to get an iPad2. \



    (oh yeah... don't forget your toque if you're coming up...)
  • Reply 17 of 124
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas View Post


    By the way.. How does the compass fare in the iPad2 that is practically covered with magnets? Does it even work? I mean, it's bad as it is on the iPhone.



    I would assume the Magnets are in the cover, not in the iPad itself?
  • Reply 18 of 124
    I think this could all be averted if when checking out you had to provide a valid state id. Id number would be entered into the system and you could only purchase 2 per week....



    Apple knows whats going on and they need to come up with a better way to get the product in hand of actual users.
  • Reply 19 of 124
    gustavgustav Posts: 826member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    That's a good thought. The more I think about it the concept of a device that shows the approximate position of the ever meandering magnetic north pole is quaint at best. In this age of GPS, satellites and triangulation capability I'd have thought we'd rely on digital bearings apps based on true north and leave the good old compass technology to the pirates. Or maybe we already do, I confess I have no idea if the iPhone compass is digital or magnetic ... I better do some research LOL



    The GPS can only tell where you are, and if you move, which direction you are moving. But it can't tell which direction you are facing. If GPS was accurate within inches, then you could put two GPS sensors in the device and determine which direction you are facing, but beyond that, magnets are the only way.
  • Reply 20 of 124
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by steverance View Post


    I would assume the Magnets are in the cover, not in the iPad itself?



    Both.
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