Apple faces Japan quake fall-out

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan could seriously affect the supply of Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad, according to analysts, as the company is heavily reliant on the country for many of its components.
The main issue is a potential shortfall in memory chips, as Toshiba and Samsung are major suppliers to Apple. Toshiba shut down its fabrication plants on Monday to assess damage and the impact of the rolling blackouts that have been implemented in Japan because of the crisis at a Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Toshiba produces about 40 per cent of the world’s flash memory.
One analyst is quoted as saying: “Every company will be impacted, no ifs ands or buts. It may not just be semiconductors or memory, but maybe in much smaller parts, like capacitors or materials used in printed circuit boards, which are in every consumer electronic product.”
The timing of a potential supply squeeze could affect the next iPhone launch, because it would take effect in late April/early May when Apple’s contracted manufacturers would start cranking out new smartphones.
“There could be a ripple effect, assuming a supply chain squeeze in May and product coming out in June or July,” said the analyst.

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