iPad production to expand as Apple adds new touch panel supplier

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Apple continues to grow its output of iPads to satisfy consumer demand ahead of the coming holiday season, this time adding a new supplier of touch panel sensors for nearly a million additional parts per month.

According to DigiTimes, Taiwan-based Cando, a subsidiary of AU Optronics, will begin shipping 9.7-inch touch sensors for the iPad in September or October. The sensors will be crafted at the company's newly revamped production line.

"Overall output of the newly reformed 4.5G plant will be mainly for iPad touch sensors with a monthly capacity of almost one million units," the report said.

The new plant is said to have a capacity of 70,000 glass substrates per month. Each of those substrates can cut 16 units of touch sensors for the iPad and its 9.7-inch display.

Before the iPad launched, numerous reports indicated that various production issues led to limited availability. Touch panels, in particular, proved to be a problem, as Apple reportedly switched orders for the parts to Wintek just before the iPad U.S. debut in early April.

In July, LG Display admitted it was unable to keep up with demand for the iPad, with the company incapable of fulfilling orders for displays.

Limited supply, along with strong demand, forced Apple to delay the international launch of the iPad by one month in April. And availability in the U.S., particularly of the 3G model remained constrained for months.

But recently, iPad shipping times on Apple's website improved to 24 hours, suggesting production issues have been resolved. In addition, Apple is quickly expanding the retail presence of the iPad before the holiday shopping season.