Apple Thin-Film Touch Sensor Supplier Struggles to Meet Demand [Digitimes]

Digitimes has today published two reports about the fate of the iPad and iPad mini supply. Industry sources say that the Japan-based Nissha Printing, which is Apple’s main supplier of thin-film touch sensors for the iPad mini, just can’t keep up with the demand due to a lack of production capacity.

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The next-generation 9.7-inch iPad is expected to use the same touch sensors as the iPad mini’s thin-film DITO (G/F2) touch panel structure. This means that Apple will be looking mostly to Nissha to supply the touch sensors for both devices as the Japan-based firm is a leading provider of the technology, the sources said.

The Japanese supplier is currently capable of providing about 60 million 9.7-inch equivalent touch sensors. Industry sources estimate Apple will ship about 33 million iPads this year and another 55 million iPad minis, which, as the aforementioned numbers reveal, exceeds Nissha’s production capacity.

The company, however, has plans to expand its production capacity by 30% before the end of the first quarter of 2013, which should help the supplier meet the high demand for iPad touch sensors.

Interestingly, another Digitimes report says Apple has adjusted iPad and iPad mini shipments, which will likely affect the supply chain. The report mentions the same 33 million and 55 million iPad and iPad minis, but it also mentions that the initial estimate for the 9.7-inch iPad was 60 million, while the iPad mini was estimated at 40 million.

Now, we don’t know the exact reason of the rumoured “production cut”, but the above report seems to confirm earlier analyst estimates that the iPad mini will bite into iPad sales.

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