Apple creating touch panel shortages for tablet competition?

Things tend to get messy for the competition when Apple decides to direct its vast cash reserves on "very strategic" components. Especially when Cupertino starts waving around stacks of dough in the range of $3.9 billion to $7.8 billion. For reference, just look at what Apple did to NAND supplies as the flash-based iPod rose to dominance. Today DigiTimes is reporting that Apple is occupying close to 60 percent of the global touch panel production capacity from the likes of Wintek and TPK resulting in "tight supply" for the competition. The impact on consumers, according DigiTimes' sources at upstream component makers, is that tablet PC makers are unable to ship enough product to match orders due to component shortages. The issue is especially troublesome for second-tier tablet hopefuls who must compete with the likes of HP, RIM, Motorola, HTC, Samsung, LG, Dell (everyone but Sony) for the scraps. As a result, Apple should be able to more easily meet iPad demand in 2011, according to DigiTimes, while its competitors struggle to keep up.