With the next iPad already being rumored for release this calendar year, it would make sense that Apple is out pounding the pavement, looking for suppliers for their next-generation device. According to a report out of Taipei, Novatek Microelectronics, Richtek Technoloy, Capella Microsystems, and Integrated Memory Logic have all signed on to supply parts for the iPad 3.
MacRumors is suggesting that the move has something to do with an increase in competition on the market, and by inference, Apple is attempting to make deals before the competition can at this point. The logic makes partial sense, since Apple has been known to lock up supply of key parts well in advance; however, we should point out that the original DigiTimes article does not make reference to, nor does it imply that, Apple’s trying to beat the competitors to contracts with key suppliers.
Also, what competition is Apple worried about at this point? It’s definitely not RIM, who has been rumored to be contemplating a withdrawal of the Playbook from the market. John Gruber and The Next Web are also reporting that Apple’s iPad currently outsells Android tablets 24 to 1.
This supplier move probably has less to do with competition, and more to do with continuing on with a practice that has served Apple very well over the years — locking supply as soon as possible. It’s pretty basic business sense.