Apple iPad 2 Set To Cause Touch Panel Shortage?

The launch of the iPad 2 could cause a massive touch panel shortage worldwide according to Digitimes which reports that the company has ring-fenced 60 per cent of the global touch panel capacity.

There are claims that Apple has aggressively set targets for the iPad in 2011 with 40 million (or roughly 10 million per quarter) being a reasonable one given that Apple sold around 20 million iPad in the last three quarters of 2010.

Sources in Taiwan told Digitimes that shipment volumes at Tablet PC makers is set to fall below their orders, especially for second-tier players, caused mainly by the stranglehold Apple has on the market.

Apple therefore appears to be causing a near-asphyxia of its tablet rivals by monopolising the touch panel market - the most expensive component in a tablet - and therefore reducing their ability to compete effectively.

This has even forced Samsung Electronics, Acer and HP - hardly tier two players - to look at smaller touch screen manufacturers in order to avoid shortages that may have a negative impact on their bottom lines.

On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was going to spend $7.8 billion to buy components from Samsung Electronics, which is also one of its biggest rivals on the market.

It could well be that the bulk of the investment has been earmarked to buy entire production lines of Samsung's next generation PLS displays.