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LG overwhelmed by iPad display orders

Apple's display supplier says it can't keep up with orders for iPad displays, and things won't improve until next year.

Apple sold 3.27 million iPads in the first three months and has had trouble keeping up with demand.
Apple sold 3.27 million iPads in the first three months and has had trouble keeping up with demand.Photo by James Martin/CNET

Apple isn't the only one caught off guard by the demand for its iPad. The company that makes the displays for the touch-screen tablet is too.

On Thursday, LG's CEO Kwon Young-Soo said his company is having trouble filling orders for iPad displays, even though his factories are running at "full capacity."

"Demand (from Apple) keeps growing and we can't meet it all," Kwon said, during a call to report the company's quarterly earnings.

LG last year secured a $500 million contract to supply Apple's LCD displays.

Apple has sold almost 3.3 million iPads since early April, and units have been back-ordered for most customers almost from the first day of sales. Apple says it was surprised by consumers' interest, particularly consumers who aren't usually early adopters of technology, in the iPad.

"Both (the iPad) and the iPhone 4, we had backlogged at end of last quarter," Apple COO Tim Cook said Tuesdayduring its earnings call. "We are selling both of those products as fast as we can make them."

Cook did not mention that display supply was as tight as it apparently is. LG's Kwon said he is considering increasing production of iPad displays, but that LG won't be able to make enough until early 2011.

The volume of early iPad sales seems to be surprising everyone. After Apple reported the sales numbers, several tech analyst firms said they had to drastically adjust their forecasts for touch-screen tablet sales for the year as a result.