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Research firm says iPad 2 shortfall possible

A research firm says that iPad 2 production could take a hit in the second quarter due to an explosion at a Foxconn facility--Foxconn assurances notwithstanding.

Apple's iPad 2 could see a production shortfall of up to 500,000 units in the second quarter due to the fatal explosion at a Foxconn manufacturing facility, according to market research firm iSuppli.

In a research note today, IHS iSuppli said that, contingent on potential production shutdowns, supply from the affected Chengdu plant could dive by as many 500,000 units, despite Foxconn assurances to the contrary. China-based Foxconn manufactures the iPad 2.

The plant suffered an explosion on Friday that killed three workers and injured another 15.

"Total iPad 2 production capacity at the Chengdu site amounts to about 500,000 units per month. If the explosion results in a production shutdown until the end of June--which may or may not happen, depending on the outcome of the still-pending investigation--a production stoppage of half a million units could result," the note said.

"Should the production suspension last longer, the impact on production could be even greater," according to iSuppli.

The note went on to say that while most iPad 2 production takes place at Foxconn's Shenzhen facility, that factory may not be able to make up for the shortfall in the second quarter.

Foxconn needs to manufacture between 7.8 million and 8.1 million units during the second quarter, according to iSuppli. As a result, production could fall short by between 300,000 and 600,000 units in that quarter.

On a more positive note, iSuppli believes the explosion's impact "will only last for the short term."