After the disaster in Japan no one wants to talk about anything but the incredible toll it has taken on the people of those localities, especially now that radiation poisoning is a risk that does not just exist in Sci-fi movies. What is becoming obvious, as well, is that international markets that depend on these manufacturing centers are beginning to see shortages that are going to have an economic ripple effect across the globe. This hits a whole range of sectors, but on a smaller scale we can now see its effect on the range of Apple products.
Right off the bat we can see that Apple‚Äö√Ñ√¥s consumer lines are going to be hit with a financial bat. iPods use specific Li-ion batteries that are now in a grave shortage as Kureha Corp has been impacted by the tectonic activity. A full 70% of the polymer that is use in these Li-ion batteries used in things like the new iPod Nano, and with the earthquake their manufacturing plans have dwindled. Under pressure from Apple they have stated they will increase production, and since a number of cellular phones also use batteries based on this material it may end up showing shortages from other companies as well.
This problem was made even more obvious with the recent release of the iPad 2. Since the manufacturing locations in Iwaki have come to a halt because of limited access to salt and vinyl chloride taken from the damaged Onahama Port, Kureha is likely to begin moving operations over to the U.S. and China. This will be a major blow to the Japanese technical industries as it is unlikely that they will move back home once they set u≈ì√Ñ shop abroad.
No matter what there are going to be some shortages, and Apple will likely compensate by simply creating a pre-planned scarcity with new devices like the iPad 2. This time it may actually be justified when you have to wait three months to walk away with one.