New iPad uses more 2nd-source materials: analysts


TAIPEI — Apple Inc. has included more second-source suppliers for components being used in its new iPad to assure it meets the anticipated increased demand by consumers, Bank of America Merrill Lynch officials recently said.

Apple unveiled its third-generation tablet computer on March 7, which features a higher display resolution, faster chip, sharper camera, longer battery life and high-speed wireless connectivity.

Pricing for the new iPad, available on March 16, will begin at US$499 for the Wi-Fi only v ersion and US$629 for the 4G-enabled tablet, while the older iPad 2 will be reduced to US$399 to compete with lower-priced tablets, such as Inc.’s Kindle Fire.

Given the time to market and the pricing strategy, Merrill Lynch estimated that worldwide iPad shipments will likely hit 60 million units in 2012, up from 15 million units in 2010 and 40 million units last year.

“We see Apple turning more aggressive in using second-source suppliers for the iPad and iPhone, given the large volume ramp,” Merrill Lynch analyst Robert Cheng said in a note.

“On the new iPad, some second-source component suppliers are emerging to gain shares from the incumbents,” Cheng noted.

In terms of Taiwanese suppliers, Genius Electronic Optical Co. and Largan Precision Co. will likely share similar volumes of supplied camera lenses, Cheng said.

Further, Dynapack International Technology Corp. is supplying 50 to 55 percent of the battery packs for the new iPad, compared with Simplo Technology Co.’s 45 to 50 percent share, he added.

Of note, the American investment bank maintained its “buy” rating on touch-panel supplier TPK Holdings Co., backlight unit supplier Radiant Opto-Electronics Corp. and Simplo of Taiwan, as well as Hong Kong-listed microphone and mini-speaker maker AAC Technologies Holdings Inc.

Separately, Apple also introduced its new Apple TV on March 7 with an improved user-interface that is similar to the current iOS software on the iPad and iPhone.

However, given its small volume, the impact of the Apple TV launch on the Taiwan hardware supply chain will likely be small, Cheng said.

Merrill Lynch and the Taiwan Stock Exchange will co-host a three-day conference in Taipei next week to address mobile technologies from semiconductors to smartphones.

The “Taiwan, Technology & Beyond Conference,” to take place at the Far Eastern Plaza Hotel on March 13-15, will draw the participation of business representatives from 150 Taiwanese and international companies and investors and analysts, according to the event’s website.

Corporate executives who will address the conference include HTC Corp. CEO Peter Chou, ARM Holdings Plc Investor Relations Director Ian Thornton, Samsung Electronics Co. Senior Vice President Robert Yi and E Ink Holdings Inc. Chairman Scott Liu, the website said.

Vice President Vincent Siew will also deliver a luncheon keynote speech on the opening day, according to the website.