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Monday, December 28, 2009, 05:00 am PT (08:00 am ET)

Apple orders 10-inch tablet displays and robust glass panels

Apple has placed mass orders for 10-inch displays as well as strong glass panels and connectors to go with them, according to two separate reports out of the Far East that peg the components for the company's much-anticipated tablet device.

According to DigiTimes, Foxconn's panel-making subsidiary Innolux will serve as the primary supplier of 10-inch panels for the forthcoming multi-touch device while Wintek — Apple's primary iPhone display panel purveyor — will be tasked with filling many of the remaining orders.

Citing sources from the iPhone maker's component suppliers, the Taiwanese rumor site also reports that the Cupertino-based company has been "seeking solutions to strengthen the glass of the 10-inch panel for the" tablets, a move which contributed to delaying the device's launch until the first-quarter 2010.

Foxconn's optical glass processing subsidiary G-Tech Optoelectronics will reportedly provide this unidentified glass strengthening process, while Taiwan-based optical film maker Wah Hong Industrial has also been tapped to supply components that will aid in the effort.

Based on an analysis of the shipping schedules of Apple's upstream component suppliers, DigiTimes predicts that Apple could announce its new tablet device in January with volume shipments to follow by March.

Separately, Taiwan's "Economic Daily" newspaper also reported Monday that Cheng Uei Precision has received large orders for new flat-panel Tablet PC connector parts, but oddly suggests the company is unlikely to start delivering those parts to Apple until the third quarter of 2010.

Last Summer, AppleInsider was first to report that Apple would base its long-awaited tablet device around a 10-inch display and that the device was bound to turn up no earlier than the first quarter of 2010.

Media reports from last Wednesday claim Apple recently booked the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco for Tuesday Jan. 26 for an unknown event, suggesting an unveiling could be less than a month away.