By Rob Garretson
Apple may have put its "Antennagate" controversy behind it for the time being, but the company continues to have problems delivering its popular new iPad and iPhone 4 devices.
LG Display, which is among Apple's key suppliers of iPad touch screens, said Friday that it may not be able to meet Apple's growing demand for them until early next year. The news came on the same day Apple again pushed back the release of the iPhone 4 model with a white casing until "later this year."
"White models of Apple's new iPhone 4 have continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected," said Apple, "and as a result they will not be available until later this year."
Both the iPad, which has sold nearly 3.5 million units since its release in April, and the new iPhone 4, which sold 3 million units in its first three weeks of availability starting June 24, have been selling as quickly as Apple can make them, and meeting such demand continues to be a challenge.
"Demand [from Apple] keeps growing, and we can't meet it all, LG Display CEO Kwon Young-soo told reporters Friday, according to Reuters. "Apple may have to delay launches of the iPad for some countries due to tight component supplies and strong demand."
"We are considering increasing production lines for iPad products but overall supply is likely to remain tight until early next year," he added.
The LG executive's comments came on the day that Apple began selling the iPad in nine more countries: Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore. In addition to the U.S., the iPad is currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K.
Despite the challenges in making the white iPhone 4, Apple plans to release the new iPhone in 17 more countries on July 30, when it will be sold in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The iPhone 4 is currently available in France, Germany, Japan and the U.K., as well as the U.S.
Thanks to the much-publicized reception problems stemming from the antenna design of the iPhone 4, buyers will receive a free "bumper" case with an iPhone 4 purchase through September 30. Apple's rubberized bumper was previously a $30 option and was the only case available for the redesigned iPhone 4 when it launched last month. A case prevents a user's hand from touching the sensitive spot on the edge of the device that causes sudden signal loss.
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