updated 08:25 am EST, Tue November 23, 2010
Foxconn starts iPad factories to cope with demand
Foxconn's recently launched Chengdu factories have turned tor producing iPads to help cope with demand, part makers claimed on Tuesday. The lines for the Apple tablet would start out at 10,000 per day, but at 300,000 per month would help keep up with holiday demand and beyond. Insiders for Digitimes said it had already started shipping iPads this month and could be a "major supply base" by early 2011, in time for the next-generation iPad.
The tips also provided insight into possible iPad production numbers both for this fall and for the rest of 2011. Foxconn's main factories in Shenzhen are reportedly capable of making 2.5 million iPads a month and are either at or near capacity, as shipments are estimated to go past seven million for the fall. At this rate, Apple would have shipped 15 million iPads in 2010 with only eight months on shelves.
Annual maximum capacity could go as high as 40 million with its Chengdu plants involved.
The iPad sequel should involve Foxconn both as a manufacturer and as a parts supplier. Chimei Innolux is believed to be helping and would supply touchscreen components, although it's not clear if this would involve full displays or just touch layers. LG Display has been the primary manufacturer of the actual 9.7-inch IPS panels for current iPads, although Apple is thought to be receiving help from Samsung.
The shorter term production figures should still give Apple an edge in the tablet market. At up to 7.5 million iPads in the fall at the Shenzhen plants alone, Apple would have over seven times Samsung's planned shipment of one million Galaxy Tabs this year. Competition should escalate as soon as today, when Acer unveils new tablets, but also in early 2011 when HTC, LG, Motorola and RIM all get involved.