iPad battery and glass display most at risk in wake of Japan disaster

Thu, Mar 17, 2011


iSuppli writes that while most of the iPad 2 components can be outsourced outside of Japan, the glass display and the battery may prove more challenging to swap out.

The glass used in the iPad 2’s touch screen overlay could present another supply problem for Apple. While the supplier of this glass cannot be confirmed with certainty, the concurrent release of the iPad 2 and the new Dragontrail Glass technology from Asahi Glass of Japan has led to speculation that Asahi may be the supplier of this durable new glass, according to Kevin Keller, principal electronics analyst for IHS.

Physical tests conducted by IHS reveal that the iPad 2 glass is more flexible and durable than the glass used in the iPad 1, possibly indicating that the glass is Asahi’s Dragontrail.

Asahi Glass reported damage to two of its facilities and damage at a third.

The lithium-ion polymer battery in the iPad 2 also is manufactured in Japan, the IHS iSuppli Teardown analysis service has determined.

The iPad 2’s three-cell battery pack on the iPad 2 is labeled “assembled in China.” However, this label refers to the whole battery pack. Further investigation showed the battery itself was made by Apple Japan, which operates as a subsidiary of Apple.

“Typically, battery cells are made at the site of assembly but because the iPad 2’s lithium-ion polymer battery is unusually thin, it likely requires advanced battery cell manufacturing technologies that reside in Japan,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst, competitive analysis, at IHS.

Logistical disruptions may mean that Apple could have difficulties obtaining this battery, and it may not be able to secure supply from an external, non-Japanese source.



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