According to a new report from IHS iSuppli on Tuesday, the recent explosion at a Foxconn factory could result in iPad 2 production losses for Apple. Despite reassurances from the manufacturer that production will not be affected — most iPad 2 units are built at Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant, which was not the site of the explosion — IHS iSuppli believes that “[Foxconn's] view is dependent on a return to full production pending the results of an investigation.” If there’ are any delays, however, iSuppli argues that the explosion could cost Apple as many as 500,000 iPad 2 units. “The impact of this disaster will only last for the short term, given that there are more than 10 factories in the Foxconn Chengdu plant, and because the explosion occurred on the third floor of one of the buildings,” IHS iSuppli said. More →
Sony Ericsson released a statement on Friday delaying the broader launch of the Xperia Neo until the third quarter due to supply chain disruptions caused by the earthquake in Japan. The firm said that volumes of its Xperia arc and Xperia PLAY were also affected, but it doesn’t appear that there are any delays with those launches. Sony Ericsson’s official statement is as follows:
As Sony Ericsson continues to assess the impact of the situation in Japan on its business, we have communicated to our operator customers and distributors that some volume of Xperia arc, Xperia PLAY and Xperia neo phones has been affected. Xperia neo has already been introduced to the marketplace in limited quantities. However, due to supply chain disruptions resulting from the situation in Japan, we have shifted the timing of Xperianeo’s broader launch and it is now planned for early Q3.
We will address this topic at the time of our Q1 financial results announcement call that is scheduled for April 19, 2011.
Sony Ericsson’s Italian Facebook page has a similar explanation, and confirms that the Neo will launch in July. More →
In the wake of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, Google has issued an experimental version of its Translate application for Android. “Download this experimental version of Google Translate for Android to translate text automatically between Japanese and over 50 other languages,” writes Google. “You can also use Conversation Mode for speech-to-speech translation between English, Spanish and Japanese.” The app, which is posted on Google’s “Japan Crisis Response” page, will run on Android version 2.0 or higher and is available here or by scanning the above QR code. More →
Two of Apple’s component suppliers, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co and Toshiba, have reportedly shut down some of their operations in Japan in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, this could result in shortages of Apple’s iPad 2 and iPhone 4 in March, through the rest of the first quarter, and into June. Toshiba manufactures 40% of the world’s flash memory, and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co is believed to be Apple’s go-to company for BT resin — which is used on circuit boards. Munster says Apple’s strategy to buy from multiple component suppliers could help soften the blow. “This strategy has proven to be an effective way for Apple to leverage its balance sheet and its position as one of the largest buyers of many of the components it uses; moreover, this strategy may prove particularly helpful if supply is limited and pricing increases,” wrote Munster. “Finally, we believe Apple buys futures on important components, which will help offset near-term pricing swings. Our conclusion is that Apple is well positioned to suffer proportionally less than its competitors.” Apple’s stock traded down sharply yesterday on the news of an analyst downgrade and potential supply shortages. More →