Apple is bracing for the possibility of shortages in the wake of the recent crises in Japan. Apparently, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co. and Toshiba have shut down their Japanese operations, and both are key suppliers to Apple.
The shortages are expected to impact the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4. Toshiba supplies Apple with flash memory as well as 40 percent of the world’s flash memory supply. Mitsubishi Gas Chemical is said to be Apple’s supplier for BT resin, which is used on the boards in their products. While Apple could elect to qualify material from alternate suppliers, it would take time and likely increase the cost, as Apple has a negotiated contract price with Toshiba and Mitsubishi.
In the near term, while supplies could be tight and even led to some shortages, don’t be surprised if we see a short-term price increase. Analysts that we spoke with today tell us that it is currently unclear as to exactly how much stock of the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4 the company has on hand, but supply shortages from their suppliers could affect things; however, it should not impact Apple long-term.