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BlackBerry PlayBook delayed by Apple screen grab

The launch of RIM's business-centric BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has been delayed by a month because of a shortage of touch-screen panels.

And Taiwanese industry watcher Digitimes is pointing the finger in Apple's direction, suggesting that the Mac maker used its massive cash reserves to secure most of the available production capacity of far east supplliers to feed demand for the recently-released iPad 2.

RIM's seven-inch tablet was originally due to appear during the first few months of 2011 but a change of chipset from Marvell to Texas Instruments put the release back by as much as six months.

The Canadian tech outfit is holding a lunch event for the $500 PlayBook on April 14th and stock is expected to start hitting shelves a few days later on the 19th.

Apple interim CEO Tim Cook announced in February that the company had committed close to $4 billion of its cash reserves to snapping up components and much of that cash was thought to have gone into snapping up close to 60 per cent of the world's touch panel production capacity.

Apple is no stranger to making massive dents in component production having rocked the RAM world in 2005 when it sent prices spiralling by buying every shipment it could lay its hands on.

The PlayBook, which was once heralded as a potential iPad killer, seems to have lost much of its impetus, not least because the launch model will be bereft of some its best features unless you already own a BlackBerry handset.