Apple factory explosion could mean shortage of 500,000 iPads

The explosion at an Apple supplier factory last week could cause production loss of half a million iPad 2 devices.

The explosion at an Apple supplier factory last week could cause production loss of half a million iPad 2 devices.

According to analyst firm IHS iSuppli, a production shutdown until the end of June following the explosion at Apple's Foxconn plant in China will cause a shortage of iPad 2 devices in the second quarter of 2011.

"iSuppli forecasts 7.4 million iPad 2 units will be shipped out during this period. To support these shipments, Foxconn must manufacture a larger quantity of devices - between 7.8 and 8.1 million units - during the second quarter," said iSuppli in a statement.

"This means that Foxconn's shipments will fall short of expected levels by between 300,000 and 600,000 units in the second quarter," iSuppli added.

The analyst firm claimed the shortage of raw components due to the Japanese earthquake in March 2011 had already slowed down production.

Apple last month said it was working through "the mother of all backlogs" for iPad supply.

Apple has come under fire for working conditions at some of its suppliers and the explosion could highlight workplace safety issues at the Foxconn factory.

"The impact of the explosion will reignite the debate regarding Apple's corporate responsibility," added iSuppli.

Early reports suggest the explosion, which killed three people and injured 15, was caused by a build-up of combustion in the factory.

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