iPad 3 (white, flat, finger on Safari)

An analyst report last Tuesday disappointed folks who were holding their breath for new iPads before this summer. As iDB told you, KGI Securities’ rather accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo cited a number of “technical challenges” that Apple is currently facing in manufacturing the second-generation iPad mini and fifth-generation full-size iPad, leading him to believe that both products won’t hit the market until Fall.

I’ve come across an accurate report which might explain that a fire which last week broke out in one of LG Display’s subcontractor plants has forced Apple to frantically seek for alternative suppliers who could supply backlight units for iPads and MacBooks. All options are on table, including the display-making unit of Apple’s frenemy Samsung…

Specifically, a week ago, on April 10, the fire broke out in Heesung Electronics’ plant in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. Apple uses the company’s backlight units for iPads and MacBooks, procuring them via LG Display, one of Apple’s several screen suppliers.

Just a day before, sources within Taiwan-based suppliers reported that Apple was gearing up to start mass production of the fifth-generation iPad in July-August.

The fire incident was first reported by The Electronic Times Internet, an online publication based in Seoul that covers electronics and technology news.

You can tell Apple’s in dire straits because it’s now considering Samsung Display as a potential candidate. One industry official said Apple as early as the following day requested an emergency meeting with Samsung, which was held in the United States on April 11.

iPad (two-up, iPad, iPad mini, hand)

The iPhone maker typically sources parts from multiple suppliers in order to minimize risks and mitigate any potential disruption stemming from natural disasters and unpredictable events such as this unfortunate incident.

Because the full recovery of the Heesung plant is expected to take at least six months, and knowing the firm used to account for “a considerable amount” of backlight units supplies for Apple, other LG Display subcontractors may not be able to fully cover for Heesung.

And without backlight units that provide illumination for liquid crystal displays to produce a visible image, there is no iPads, MacBooks or any other Apple product that relies on LCD screen technology.

The damage from the fire was first estimated at CNY 200 million, or approximately $32.23 million. However, investigators shortly after increased the figure and warned that the plant won’t be back online for at least six months.

Apple faced a similar crisis in May 2011 after an explosion rocked Foxconn’s iPad plant in Chengdu, China.

Good thing Apple’s boss is a guy who knows a thing or two about the intricate supply chain.

For years, current CEO Tim Cook was running Apple’s supply chain as operations chief. He still keeps tabs on that aspect of Apple’s business, although he handed day-to-day operations to his right-hand man Jeffrey Williams, one of Apple’s best-paid senior vice presidents.

After Cook became the Apple CEO, 49-year-old Williams assumed many of his duties and is now largely responsible for managing Apple’s supply chain and making sure that trains run on time.

  • Boss

    Probably won’t have much new stuff added to it for it to be worth the upgrade

    • what else can they add aside from more speed which is not need for the basic IOS application we currently have????

      • Kurt

        Real multitasking/split screen/stylus/pop up player
        hardware, stereo speakers and having those stereo speakers residing on the face of the iPad.

      • good reply..

  • Go back to Samsung??? Never, Don’t do it Apple!

    • Mohammed Sahib

      I hope Apple uses samsung displays in the next iPad. LG panels have many issues, most importantly: image retention.

    • Falk M.

      Classic example of blind fanboyism.
      Samsung displays are where its at.

      My next TV will be a Samsung one unless Apple come out with something amazing before I make a purchase later this year or early next year.
      And it better have “legacy” “obsolete” ports and features I need for old consoles.
      I don’t feel like buying dozens of converters either.

      Knowing Apple, I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up too much, so maybe the rest of such a tv set would convince me and make me willing to deal with the trade-offs.
      Price is a factor, too. I just don’t fancy spending tons of money on something that’s practically just a screen 95% of the time for the stuff I hook up to it, because I sure as hell won’t rent a lot of stuff or subscribe to pay-tv or something like that. I don’t even really watch regular TV.

      Youtube is much more interesting these days whilst TV is becoming a joke more and more.

  • I heard Samsung started the fire……{looks the other way} LOL

  • next gen ipad is not needed now….

  • Web_World

    I would not be surprised to find out that this ‘event’ was part of Samsung’s great variety of evil ‘Marketing’ techniques

  • Karma says you should switch back to Samsung, Apple, and I agree. LG electronics are just LowGrade compared to Samsung; that’s what my experience has been with their mobile phones, after which, never bought another LG product.