Industry Suffers As Apple Grabs Polymer Batteries

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Greedy Apple has charged out to buy up lithium-ion polymer batteries, leaving its rivals hungry for power

Lithium-ion polymer batteries are said to be in short supply and Apple is rumoured to have a grip on the market.

The company’s dependence on these compact power cells for its MacBooks, iPad, iPod and iPhone ranges means that it has to guarantee its supply lines in the face of increasing competition from other manufacturers. Intel’s ultrathin PC architecture has drawn the attention of several large manufacturers and the demand for polymer batteries is rapidly increasing.

Growing market, Limited Production Capacity

According to sources in Japan, South Korea and China, Lithium polymer technology only accounts for 10 percent of battery production but Simplo Technology and Dynapack International Technology in Taiwan estimate it is 20-30 percent of their production already. Intel estimates that by the end of next year this will swell to 40 percent. The current shortage is likely to cause Apple’s competitors a few problems as prices rise for a diminishing stock of supplies.

Hewlett-Packard and Acer are known to be seeking new suppliers to increase their sources and the battery makers are ramping up production. Asus and Dell are also supporting the ultrathin market and prices have increased 20 percent this quarter, a rising trend that could continue for the next few quarters.

Despite claims to be greening their companies, the PC makers are sacrificing some of their reputation for the current fashion for thin form factors. Polymer batteries are even less environmentally-friendly and shorter-lived than standard lithium-ion cells. They cannot be recycled and they contain some truly dangerous chemicals that are produced by energy intensive processes.

It is assumed that by jumping in ahead of everyone else, Apple will have secured its stocks at a better price than currently-available polymer cells. It is also rumoured that the company is flexing its marketing muscle to persuade suppliers of its other computer parts to reduce their prices by 10 percent. If the company succeeds it should bring down prices and make Apple much more competitive on price.

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