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Apple manufacturers: ARRGH, pesky iThings are impossible to make

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The iPad Mini is the latest Apple product to cause big problems for manufacturers in the Asian supply chain. According to reports, it's the LCD panels that are the problem, and both manufacturers - AU Optronics and LG Display - are losing money on the contract, Digitimes reports.

AU Optronics and LG have struggled to produce enough iPad Mini panels to keep up with demand, sources told Digitimes, the Asian supply chain news site. A low yield rate on the Mini screens means that both companies are currently losing money on making the Apple part, and it will probably take till next quarter before the contract brings in profit. A shortage of backlighting components is slowing manufacture as well.

AU Optronics in particular is struggling with the order. AUO was supposed to provide 40 per cent of the Mini screens, but has only been able to provide 22 per cent.

Overall, Apple is said to have set a 10 million shipment target for the iPad Mini for the fourth quarter of 2012, but might only reach six million during the period, largely as a result of production delays at AUO, said the DigiTimes sources.

Previously East Asian manufacturers have said that the iPhone 5 and the new iMac have been difficult to produce. The extra thin screen on the iPhone 5 that embedded touch sensors in amidst pixels proved difficult to manufacture, and on the new iMac, a special welding technique for the aluminium frame has been described as causing a delay.

The shortage does seem to be affecting the supply end of the Apple Store. Customers in the US and UK have to wait two weeks for an iPad Mini after ordering it online. iPhone 5s have a one-week delay till shipping and iPad 2s are in stock and available for next-day collection in stores. ®

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