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Will Holiday iPad Sales be Limited by LCD Supply Shortage?

Posted by dsnedigar | Posted in Computer, Device | Posted on 23-07-2010

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LG LogoThe holiday shopping season will be upon us before you know it…and many have visions of apples –  not sugar plums – dancing in their heads…as in Apple’s iPad. But iPads are currently in short supply or sold out just about everywhere and Apple claims they are selling them just as fast as they can make them. Now comes word that the supply of the wildly popular tablet may not get better anytime soon because of a parts shortage.

According the the Wall Street Journal, sales of the iPad are only being limited by production issues specific to the supply of it’s LCD display. South Korean LCD-maker LG has acknowledged the problem and hopes to have supplies ramped up by the 2nd quarter of 2011. On Thursday, LG Chief Executive Kwon Young-soo said:

“Apple is ordering more and more displays but it isn’t something we can be able to respond quickly. I am not sure whether we can be able to meet orders from other companies for similar products, but we will be able to supply the displays without fail…by the second quarter of next year.”

Apple revealed during their earnings call this week that they’ve sold over 3.3 million iPads since it’s April launch, and plan to have it available in 19 countries by the end of the month. That kind of consumer demand doesn’t bode well for supplies of the highly sought-after tablet for the upcoming holiday season, which promises to see competition from both Android and Windows 7-powered tablets, and has already seen aggressive pricing competition from Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-readers.

LG says it will be investing $512 million to build new production facilities in order to meet increasing demands for the screens. But that plant won’t be operational until the 4th quarter of 2011. LG hopes that a recent fall in demand for LCD TV screens will allow them to cut production to those lines this fall in order to increase production of the highly-demanded smaller screens.

With more and more of these smaller, high-resolution screens being used in all walks of consumer electronics from cell phones to handheld games to cameras and picture frames, the demand isn’t going to soften anytime soon. But screen supply issues aren’t unique or limited to LG. Verizon has also recently attributed supply problems with it’s Droid Incredible smartphone to screen supply issues with Samsung.

So if an iPad is on your holiday gift or wish-list, you might want to get in line now.

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