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Apple adds another iPad 2 touchscreen manufacturer to meet demand

Apple will reportedly add Chimei Innolux Corp. as a third supplier of touch panel sensors and displays for the iPad 2, as the company works to secure more components and boost production of the hot-selling device.

Chimei will join the current touchscreen suppliers, TPK Holding Corp. and Wintek Corp., that create sensors for the iPad 2's touchscreen, according to Bloomberg. Despite the addition of Chimei, Wintek and TPK will reportedly remain "key suppliers" for those components.

Chimei is an affiliate of Foxconn Technology Group, Apple's overseas manufacturing partner. The report noted that Apple's order of touch panels from Chimei may further deepen ties between Foxconn and Apple.

In addition to touch sensors that accompany LCD screens, Chimei will also provide the screens themselves, according to DigiTimes Chimei will reportedly begin shipments of in-plane switching screens in May 2011, joining current display providers LG Display and Samsung Electronics.

Apple's forging of a new partnership with Chimei is yet another sign that Apple is expanding its number of component suppliers to manufacture more iPads. On Monday, it was revealed that Apple is testing a new LED backlight maker, Everlight Electronics.

Suppliers have reportedly suggested that shipments of the iPad 2 could reach 45 million in 2011, a sum that would make sales of the second-generation device three times greater than the 15 million Apple sold in 2010.

Since the iPad 2 launched in the U.S. in early March, Apple has struggled to meet demand for the device, as lines continue to form and stock-outs continue to occur around the world.