Production Issues Bottleneck iPad, Report Suggests

Dennis Faas's picture

Sales of Apple's new iPad tablet device have been impressive so far. So impressive, in fact, that Apple was forced to delay shipping the device outside of the U.S. because it simply couldn't keep up with demand. Well, now there's word that the problem is the touch screen display, which suppliers say is a complex and difficult to manufacture tool.

The iPad's touch screen, produced by LG Display Co., Samsung Electronics Co., and Seiko Epson Corp., is a lot like the display of the iPhone. At 9.7 inches it's a lot bigger, making the production process infinitely more complex and difficult.

"We understand that the yields on the display have been low and that they're creating a production bottleneck," said Andrew Rassweiler, analyst for research firm ISuppli Corp. "[The fact] that they have been doing it for the iPhone for some time is great, but once you go to 9.7 inches, it is a much more complicated process." (Source:

Bottleneck Opens Door for Rival Tablets

The problem for Apple goes beyond mere consumer frustration. Instead, it opens the door for rival tablets from competitors Hewlett-Packard (HP), Toshiba, and Dell, all offering their own unique bells and whistles (like Windows 7). Analysts say Apple wants to open a new market that it can dominate between the iPhone and Mac computer, but this isn't an ideal start.

Thus far, Apple is remaining quiet on the production struggles. A spokesperson for the company simply repeated comments from last week noting that "demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks."

Manufacturers Samsung and Seiko are also choosing not to comment.

WiFi Issues Continue to Plague iPad

Meanwhile, the iPad's WiFi issues we first reported last week seem to have gotten worse -- at least, that's if you attend George Washington University. There, students and faculty have struggled to gain access to the school's wireless network without much explanation as to why. Cornell University is also reporting WiFi struggles. (Source:

The wireless problems haven't deterred Seton Hill University, which is planning to equip most of its students with iPads. The institution has had to quadruple its bandwidth and charge a $500 technology fee to students in order to maintain their wireless network -- assuming it works, of course.

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