Saturday, September 24, 2011

Apple's Supply Chain Running Into iPhone 5 Production Problems

Digitimes is reporting Apple’s supply chain is experiencing some problems that could lower the number of iPhone 5’s available at launch.

Manufacturer Wintek produces roughly 25% of the iPhone 5 touch panels in Apple’s supply chain and currently the panels they’re producing are defective. Digitimes' source reffered to the problem as “delayed bubbles.”

These bubbles are small pockets of gas trapped between the panel and the lamination layer and are incredibly difficult to detect during production. This means the bubbles are usually only spotted during assembly creating problems further down the production process than usual.

However, it seems this is a small problem. Wintek is still expecting to ship all of their orders on time, and with TPK Holding and Chimei Innolux having zero problems producing the lion’s share of panels (75-80%) the problem shouldn’t be too noticeable. Still, shortages are shortages and historically Apple’s launches of high-profile devices need every single unit possible. This past year Apple dealt for months with iPad 2 delays that left customers who purchased the device on launch day waiting, in some cases, months before receiving their iPad 2.

Apple is still hoping to ship 26 million iPhone 5s in Q4 according to Digitimes sources and they’ll need all phases of production and assembly running smoothly to reach that goal. Especially if they want to continue breaking sales records every quarter.


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