Apple faces shortage of lithium-ion batteries following Japan quake

Tue, Mar 29, 2011


A new report from the Wall St. Journal notes that Apple is experiencing shortages of the lithium-ion batteries used in its line of iPods. Going down the supply chain, Apple traced the shortage back to a Japanese chemical manufacturing company called Kureha Corp.

Kureha, the report notes, commands a 70% global share of an integral polymer used in the lithium-ion batteries but was forced to shut down its Iwaki factory following the March 11 quake. Looking to maintain business as efficiently as possible, Kureah is hastening plans to move production overseas to places like China and the US. While these plans will help diversify Kureah’s sources of production, it clearly won’t be accomplished in time to sufficiently address near-term supply shortages.

Oddly enough, the WSJ report only makes mention of the iPod even though products like the iPhone and iPad use the same type of lithium-ion battery. Regarding the iPad, last week we noted that while the device’s actual battery pack is put together in China, the battery itself originates from Apple manufacturing plants in Japan and may not be able to be outsourced to other companies. Another component Apple may experience shortages with is the iPad 2’s thin display which is rumored to make use of Asahi Glass Co.’s Dragontrail technology which has visibly made the iPad 2 screen much more resilient than the original.


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