Apple has contracted Chimei Innolux Corporation as its newest supplier for the touch panel sensors and displays that go into the making of the iPad 2. With this, Chimei will be joining two other companies – Taiwan’s TPK Holding Corp. and Wintek Corp. that until now have been supplying the touch panels for the iPad 2.
In spite of Chimei coming into the picture, TPK Holding Corp. and Wintek Corp. will continue to enjoy ‘key supplier’ status. Incidentally, Chimei Innolux Corp. is an affiliate of Foxconn Technology Group, the Taiwan based assembler of the iPad and iPhone, signalling a deepening of ties between the two companies.
Also, Chimei Innolux Corp. will be supplying the accompanying LCD screens as well. Apple has been sourcing the LCD panels from LG Display and Samsung Electronics until now.
Clearly, Apple does not want to lose out on prospective buyers due to long waiting periods for the in-demand new-gen iPad tablet. Not when the competition is bracing itself with suitable devices to take on the latest iteration of the iPad, which means consumers have a lot of other tablets to opt for in case they are not keen to wait a few weeks for the iPad 2 to ship. Suppliers have been predicting shipments of the iPad 2 to reach a record 45 million units for 2011, three times more than the number of iPads sold in 2010.