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Apple 'signs second iPod supplier'

Asustek joins Inventec

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Apple has reportedly signed up Taiwanese contract manufacturer Asustek to punch out iPod Minis in a bid to increase supply and meet strong demand for the player.

According to a DigiTimes report, citing "market sources", Asustek has already received its first order from Apple.

Apple's prime iPod manufacturing partner is understood to be Taiwan's Inventec, which has been producing the portable music player not long after its launch in 2001. Inventec is gearing up to ship higher volumes of the product now that HP has also begun taking orders for the iPod, currently in its fourth incarnation, and will start fulfilling those purchases on 15 September.

The report's sources claim Asustek will make iPods at its Suzhou, China facility.

The iPod Mini has been hard to acquire since its US launch last February, a fact that led Apple to delay the player's international debut from April to July. Even today, third-party retailers and resellers frequently list the player as 'out of stock'. Apple has blamed the problem on its 1in, 4GB HDD supplier, understood to be Hitachi. Hitachi has claimed to be working hard to boost production, and the Asustek deal suggests volumes are now sufficient for Apple to consider bringing other manufacturers on board. ®

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