iPad 2, iPhone 4 Demand Grows, Supply to Shrink
Digitimes is reporting shortages of both labor and materials, specifically at Foxconn, will be affecting Apple's overseas supply chain.
The shortage will likely affect Apple's ability to ship the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 in the second quarter of 2011 (Calendar time, not financial, so like June), upstream component makers told Digitime. Foxconn released a statement on the issue, (that in no way directly addressed the issue) merely emphasizing "that is has expereience arranging manpower to assist its clients in reaching their goals."
In Apple's case, those goals can be lofty. Apple sold 18.6 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2011, up from 16.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010. Apple's estimates put sales for iPhones in the second quarter of 2011 in the 20-22 million units sold range. Apple expects to sell 10-10.5 million iPad 2's in the second quarter of 2011 as well. However, shortages in parts like memory components, and power amplifiers, due to the earthquakes in Japan, have caused the majority of iPad production to shift from the Chengdu Foxconn Plants to the less capable Foxconn plants in Shenzhen. In order to meet the 3 million iPad 2's a month Apple demands, Foxconn will need to find a way to supply the ailing Chengdu plant with the necessary parts, and labor.
Hungry investors, and Apple's track record for continually beating sales estimates, could be at odd come the end of the 2nd quarter this year. Apple, though has been flexing its purchasing power buying up every touch panel, memory component, processor, and other necessary component it can get its hands on to meet demand. So much so, other tablet and smartphone manufacturers are experiencing even more purchasing woes. Samsung already saw the wi-fi version if it's 7" Galaxy tab miss it's march release date window, with the Galaxy 10.1 being delayed as well. Although, if you were fortunate enough to be one of the 5,000 attendees at Google's I/O conference, you walked away with a Galaxy 10.1 tablet ahead of its release date.
Don't expect Apple to run out of iDevices, just don't be surprised if the ridiculous waiting that accompanied the iPad 2's launch shortage makes a comeback.