updated 09:30 am EDT, Wed August 10, 2011
Parts fail drop tests
Apple has suspended new iPad 2 panel orders from LG Display because of some serious production issues, say industry sources. LG's panels allegedly failed recent drop tests, during which backlight units malfunctioned. The company's yield rates, more critically, are said to be below Apple requirements. In July LG shipped somewhere between 2.5 and 2.6 million panels, a million units below its original goal for the month. The company's longer-term goal is 4 million a month.
In order to fulfill panel demand, Apple has reportedly turned to two other frequent Apple suppliers, Samsung and Chimei Innolux. While Samsung produced just under 2 million iPad 2 panels in July, that number is far in excess of the company's average output of just over 1 million. Chimei is a comparatively minor contributor, having shipped just over 450,000 panels last month.
It may nevertheless have a chance at becoming a regular iPad 2 panel supplier, the sources say, because the company is affiliated with Foxconn, which assembles the tablet. Chimei is currently said to be aiming at production of 1 million iPad panels a month, with a subsequent goal of 1.5 million.
LG can hang on to leading panel supplier status if it fixes quality in a hurry, the sources finish. In any case the production news likely quashes any hints of an iPad 3 in the fall, since new displays would need about a month's lead time. More probable is a March or April launch, in keeping with Apple's history so far.