Battery Supply Problems to Lead to iPod Shortages?

Apple is reportedly running short of lithium-ion batteries for its iPods as Japanese chemical maker Kureha stuggles to deal with the aftermath of the recent natural disasters to strike the country.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Kureha has a 70 percent share of the global market for a particular polymer, said to be crucial in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries used by the iPod.

Kureha was forced to shut its factory in Iwaki, close to the epicentre of the recent quake, and is looking to move its production line overseas.

[Will iPad 2 supplies be hurt by Japanese quake?]

The plant in Kureha is the only place that the polymer is made. The polymer, which is made from resin called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), binds components of the battery together. It is vital to the construction of batteries that are pliable rather than rigid, as they need to be to fit into the small spaces dictated by modern, small designs.

Kureha is reportedly looking to move PVDF production to its existing factories in China or the US, while keeping its research and development plant in Japan. Meanwhile, analysts warned that any mobile gadgets using lithium-ion batteries, including Apple's iPod, could be affected by the production stoppage.

"It will be a problem in many mobile products that use lithium polymer batteries," Vishal Sapru, a market researcher with the firm Frost & Sullivan, told the WSJ.

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