LG light leak blamed for iPad 2 shortage

A defect in the LCD panels produced by LG caused Apple to shift a bulk of the production to Samsung, according to DigiTimes, which adds that LG has since fixed the problem.

Christopher MacManus
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Christopher MacManus
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Light leakage bothered many iPad 2 owners. Tempest/AVforums.com

Some of you may remember earlier rumblings about light leakage and yellowing spotted on the iPad 2 LCD panel.

A report today from DigiTimes may have pinpointed the culprit. The publication cites unnamed sources as saying LG's display division had to pull back on iPad 2 screen production because of light leakage issues that emerged during manufacturing.

The problem reportedly arose at LG's sixth-generation production line in Gumi, South Korea, and all but confirms widespread complaints of the complication, which became a widely circulated story online and clogged Apple's support forums.

Light leakage is common in edge-lit LCD panels, where light unintentionally emanates from the bezel that surrounds the screen, causing a patchy, non-uniform display that is most noticeable in dark scenes. This problem also pops up in TVs, and is sometimes called "flashlighting."

DigiTimes says that Apple shifted iPad 2 screen production to Samsung, which produced a total of 4 million 9.7-inch IPS panels for Apple in the first quarter of this year. LG was only able to ship about 3.2 million panels in the same time frame before shuttering production. LG supposedly has "fixed the problem and will resume shipment momentum to Apple in the second quarter," according to DigiTimes.

The iPad 2 went on sale in March, and quickly sold out around the world. Weeks after the device went on sale, even Apple's Web site could only offer vague shipping times of between three and five weeks.

Since then, supply of the tablet has nearly caught up with demand.