Apple hogs 60 per cent of world's touch panels

Apple has snapped up 60 per cent of the global manufacturing capacity of touch-screen panels sparking worries of short supply for other gadget makers.

According to the occasionally accurate Taiwanese industry watcher Digitimes, the iPad maker is grabbing the lion's share of factory time globally in order to meet its ambition to shift 40 million units of its pioneering tablet in 2011. This has left its wannabe competitors in something of a tight spot.

The report says that sources within non-Apple tablet makers are experiencing shortages of the components which might impact on supply failing to meet demand for the likes of RIM, Motorola and HP, all of which have tablet devices on their release schedules in the near future.

Reports of low yields of top grade glass-based capacitive touch panels may also have a negative impact on supply according to the report.

Interim CEO Tim Cook recently announced that Apple had committed close to $4 billion of its cash reserves to the acquisition of undisclosed components which would be important for Apple and the rest of the industry.

Apple has been criticised in the past for stifling competition by snaffling up huge supplies of components, most notably in 2005 when it made flash RAM harder to source than rocking horse poo by buying every shipment it could get its hands on.