iSuppli’s research and in-depth iPad 2 tear down has revealed that vital iPad 2 parts like the thin battery, display glass, and electronic compass may be directly sourced from Japanese plants. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan has caused many manufacturing plants to temporarily stop work and it is possible, that if certain iPad 2 parts are in fact from Japan, that some iPad 2 parts may be in tight supply.
The IHS iSuppli teardown analysis of the iPad 2 so far has been able to identify five parts sourced from Japanese suppliers: NAND flash from Toshiba Corp., dynamic random access memory (DRAM) made by Elpida Memory Inc., an electronic compass from AKM Semiconductor, the touch screen overlay glass likely from Asahi Glass Co. and the system battery from Apple Japan Inc. There potentially are other components from Japan in the iPad 2, however, the teardown analysis process cannot always identify all components’ countries of origin.
These potential supply issues obviously in no way connect to the short supply of iPad 2s on launch day and in the days since launch. The issue does come at the point in which Apple is trying to build as many iPad 2s as possible in order to meet “amazing” demand for the product.
Toshiba, an Apple supplier for flash storage, temporarily suspended NAND flash production in their Japanese plants. Apple obtaining flash storage drives for their iOS devices and other products like the MacBook Air is not as big of a deal as the iPad 2s battery, glass, and compass as the storage technology is also sourced from other other nations by other suppliers, notably Samsung.
The iPad 2 was released on March 11th and currently ships in 4-5 weeks from the Apple online store. Apple has been supportive of the terrifying situation in Japan with Steve Jobs offering his full support via an email to the company and iTunes taking donations for the Red Cross.