According to component suppliers and reported by DigiTimes, Apple has cornered 60% of global glass capacitive touch panel capacity resulting in a tight supply situation for competitors like HP, Motorola, and RIM. I don’t know the specifics but it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple is using its huge cash reserves to secure these touch panels ahead of new product announcements.
Apple just started selling its CDMA iPhone 4 on Verizon Wireless and will most likely announce the next-generation iPad 2 soon (and the iPad 3) and another updated iPhone (read Wait For The Next iPhone: iPhone 4S) in June or July. Both the iPhone and iPad require glass-based capacitive touch panels. Yields for touch panels were a problem in 2010, but by securing roughly 60% of global capacity Apple is maximizing its chances to meet what will be enormous demand for its new iPhones and iPads in 2011.