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Apple Could Suffer from iPhone, iPad Shortages

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Apple customers may start seeing "Backordered" messages beneath their prospective devices soon.

Digitimes is reporting that Apple supplier Foxconn may be facing shortages in both labor and materials at its Chengdu, China plants. Speaking with sources within upstream component makers, Digitimes claims that such shortages could affect shipments of the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 orders in the second quarter.

As Apple pushes for an increase in production to meet high demand, this couldn't come at a worse time. The company is shooting for a lofty 2.5 million to 3 million iPad 2 units each, with a overall goal of 35-40 million this year. Many analysts predict that shipments won't exceed 7 million for the second quarter. Additionally, the company is estimating sales of 20-22 million iPhones in the second quarter -- compared to the 18.6 million iPhones sold last quarter. However, Foxconn and Pegatron Technology may not be able to reach those numbers. Digitimes reports:
"Commenting on the rumor, Foxconn only emphasized that the company's capacity is being arranged fully at the request of its clients and the company will do all it can to satisfy its clients' needs; however, the company declined to comment whether the labor shortages will cause delays in shipments. Foxconn emphasized that it has experience arranging manpower to assist its clients in reaching their goals."
Apple could continue to feel the effects of Japan's earthquake as component supplies -- like power amplifiers and memory -- were severely impacted.

Touch panel manufacturers TPK and Wintek saw revenue drops in April -- 5.9% and a whopping 17.95%, respectively. Apple took advantage of TPK's improved yield rates and pricing by shifting orders from Wintek to TPK. However, both manufacturers indicate that given the shortage in components, the entire touch panel industry could hit a rocky patch in the coming weeks.

So, if you already own an extra iPad 2, you may want to consider opening an eBay account. And if you don't, well, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is getting some decent reviews.

(See also: How Apple Could Defeat Google Music)

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POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.