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Monday, April 18, 2011, 06:05 am PT (09:05 am ET)

Apple testing new LED backlight maker for iPad 2 supply chain

Apple is said to be testing a new LED backlight maker in an effort to expand its supply of components for the still-hard-to-buy iPad 2.

Everlight Electronics has delivered samples of its LED backlight products to Apple, according to China Times (via Google Translate and DigiTimes). Everlight's products are intended for use in tablet-style devices, and it is presumed that Apple is exploring the use of the company's LED backlights for the iPad 2.

Everlight's products were recently sent to Apple for certification, as the Taiwanese company hopes it can break into Apple's supply chain. With one recent report suggesting that iPad 2 shipments in 2011 could reach 45 million, supplying components for Apple's touchscreen tablet is a lucrative opportunity.

Founded in 1983 in Taipei, Taiwan, Everlight's LED-based products have grown it into a global company with over 6,400 employees. The company has been shipping new LED backlights with a brightness of 2,000 millicandelas for use in tablet computers to other Taiwan-based tablet-makers since March.

Immediately after the iPad 2 arrived in the U.S. in March, some customers reported problems with LED backlight "bleeding" on the edges and in the corners of the display. Such defects, where white light "bleeds" onto the screen, are most noticeable when the screen is operational but dark, such as a dark scene in a movie.

But scattered reports of defects have had no major impact on sales, as Apple has struggled to meet demand for its second-generation iPad. In the U.S. and around the world, Apple stores and retail partners have continuously sold out of the iPad 2 while customers continue to form lines in hopes of obtaining a device.

Apple has steadily expanded availability of the iPad 2, launching in new countries and adding new retailers in the U.S., like Toys R Us on Sunday. But component supplies for the iPad 2 reportedly remain constrained, ensuring that demand continues to outstrip supply for the hot-selling device.