Like many device manufacturers Apple cannot seem to escape supply concerns in the wake of the ongoing crisis in Japan.
The company is hoping that AU Optronics will fill the void left by companies like Hitachi and Toshiba, both of which have been affected by the series of disasters that have rocked Japan. Damage to many factories from the earthquake and an ongoing nuclear disaster has disrupted supply chains and caused large slowdowns in production of vital electronic components.
Taiwan Economic News reports that the company is tapping AU Optronics for a yearly 30 million tablet displays -- approximately half the global demand. According to the rumors, Apple is prepared to pay up to a 400% premium on the shipments in order to guarantee supply.
Apple is starting the feel the heat from competing tablet manufacturers like Motorola and Samsung, both of which offer tablets within the same size range as Apple's iPad 2. Samsung, along with LGD, is a major supplier of iPad displays, a status that complicates its own tablet ambitions.
The moves come shortly after Apple released the iPad 2 in another twenty-five countries worldwide, boosting the demand for the tablet. Analysts estimated that the company sold close to one million of the devices during its debut weekend earlier this month.