Why the iPad 3 could be in short supply

Display, display, display. Supplies of the high-resolution display panels expected in the next iPad could be tight, according to a source and an Asia-based report.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

Will the upcoming iPad 3's 2048x1536 display be available in the volumes that Apple typically needs on the day of announcement? The possibility that it might not is emerging as a concern.

"Samsung is having some difficulty supplying the panels and there's a short delay," a source, who has contacts at display makers in Asia, told CNET.

"Keep in mind that there can be announcement on the 7th but the ship date might come later," this person said.

Such shortages could widen the delay between the announcement of the product and its release. Historically, Apple has put new products on sale days or weeks after being announced. Buyers are put on wait lists in the case of backlog, as has been the case with the release of the first two iPads.

How might Apple get around this? Samsung is not the only display supplier. LG Display and Sharp are also rumored as suppliers. Sharp, in particular, has been cited by analysts as a supplier of a new IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) display.

So it's possible that Apple can get what it needs from multiple sources. That said, a report in Taipei-based Digitimes claims that supplies from all three potential manufacturers are constrained:

Although Apple has chosen Sharp to replace Chimei Innolux (CMI) as one of its three suppliers for the high resolution (QXGA) panels--in addition to LG Display and Samsung Electronics--the whole supply chain has failed to substantially ramp up the supply of QXGA (2048x1536) panels, the sources revealed
Next-gen iPad shipments, as a result, won't pick up substantially until the second quarter, the publication said.

The 2048x1536 display is expected to be the new iPad's marquee feature. The current iPad has a 1024x768 display, by comparison.

This story was updated at 2:55 p.m. PT to clarify Apple's historic strategy for product releases like the iPad.