updated 07:45 am EDT, Fri March 19, 2010
Wintek touch panel backlog said at fault
Wintek on Friday was accused in a report by Taiwan's Liberty Times of triggering a delay in iPad shipments. A choke point in its touch panel production line has allegedly resulted in few usable panels and stalled Apple's supply as a result. The newspaper didn't say whether this would affect launch volume, although to date Apple still promises shipping for April 3rd.
In response, the contract manufacturer has already issued a denial to the Taiwan Stock Exchange that said all production was running properly. However, Wintek also said it couldn't comment on either particular customers like Apple or individual orders.
Supply volume has been a persistent worry, with more than one analyst claiming shortages for at least the early production run. None of these have been verifiable to date, with no visible sign of delays. Wintek is already one of Apple's regular suppliers and provides the capacitive touch layer for both the iPhone and iPod touch.
Shortages have been a persistent issue with e-readers, but much of this is attributed to demand for the still-uncommon E Ink displays exceeding supply. Amazon and Barnes & Noble have both had their launch expectations diminished in the past as a result of supply issues, but Apple's use of LCDs potentially gives it an edge by giving it established technology and alternate manufacturers in the event of a problem.