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iPod Battery Shortages Arrise After Japan Earthquake

Battery-Life.jpgThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that Japanese facilities that produce polymer that is used in lithium-polymer batteries, which are in turn used in iPods has had to shut down in the aftermath of that country’s recent, devastating 9.0 earthquake.
Here’s an excerpt:

A representative from Apple Inc. recently called Kureha Corp.’s offices in the U.S. The problem: Apple was facing tight supplies of lithium-ion batteries used in its popular iPods, and they traced the supply bottleneck to the relatively obscure Japanese chemicals maker.

Kureha, which has a 70% share of the global market for a crucial polymer used in lithium-ion batteries, had to shut its factory in Iwaki — near the quake’s epicenter — after the March 11 disaster struck. It is the only place where Kureha makes this particular polymer.

First, it’s odd that the report only mention’s the iPod line, considering that Apple uses very similar batteries in the iPhone and iPad as well. Secondly, the Kureha facility itself sustained little damage, but the nearby port, in which they receive all of their supplies, was crippled, leaving the company no choice but to temporarily shut down the facility. Kureha is reportedly looking to diversify it’s production, in places like China and the U.S., but that won’t help the current situation.

I guarantee Apple keeps a small stock of components on hand in case a disruption like this one would occur. That said, we may still see a shortage in these products in the coming weeks and months.

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