From Taipei comes news that Apple has increased the number of printed circuit board manufacturers for the iPad 2 from three to seven as the company seeks to decrease any risk of shortages that might arise in the wake of the tablet's launch.
Digitimes says that apart from the three original iPad PCB suppliers, Ibiden, Tripod Technology and TTM Technologies, four others, Compeq Manufacturing, Gold Circuit Electronics (GCE), Meiko and Nan Ya PCB, will join in. GCE is also rumoured to be making HDI (high density interconnect) PCB parts for the iPhone 5 as well.
Shipments of the PCBs will start by the end of February and will gradually increase until mass shipments in April which means that the iPad 2 may be launched by the end of April 2011.
The Taiwanese news outlet also mentions that rising demand in PCBs might cause a shortage in 2011 and other challenges might arise including trying to improve rates for 4-and-above layer boards which allow for more components to be crammed per unit volume.