Nearly three weeks after the earthquake that shook Japan to the core, a number of additional impacts to the supply chain of flat panel displays have emerged with some potential consequences for Apple devices like the iPhone 5, the iPad 2 and the iPod Touch.
Based on conservative analysts figures, the combined unit shipments for all three is expected to surpass 100 million in 2011 alone but Displaysearch predicts that the Earthquake could jeopardise key equipment production and therefore any previous predictions.
Supply of Nitrogen Trifluoride, which is used to clean Chemical Vapor Deposition Chambers where TFT LCD and Semiconductors are produced will be tight as nearly a third of the global production of this gas comes from two Japanese companies which have both reported being impacted by the Earthquake aftermath and unstable electric power supply.
Two Japanese companies own nearly three quarters of the global market of Indium Tin Oxide Target, which is used in great quantities in the manufacturer of TFT and Touchscreen displays. There is reportedly only a month worth of ITO target inventory which means that panel manufacturers could soon face some big supply issues.
As for connectors and exposure equipments which are used for power and graphics signals in LCD modules and in AMOLED and LTPS LCD production plants respectively, there are confirmed delays with panel makers and customers having to scramble to look for alternative sources.