updated 03:25 pm EDT, Thu June 28, 2007
Japan Reaps iPhone Rewards
Although Apple stands to benefit directly from selling the iPhone, some of the company's eventual challengers in the mobile phone world should also profit from the device, according to contacts within the display business. Japanese firms Sharp and Toshiba are said to be involved in manufacturing the LCD portion of the touchscreens that sit at the heart of the device, even though they themselves produce phones that should compete with the Apple either immediately (Sharp) or for eventual releases in Asia and Europe (Toshiba). Epson is also involved, the sources say.
No information has been provided about the length of their contracts, but the three companies should pocket at least $160 million US each by the time their known manufacturing runs end, the tip notes. One of the full 3.5-inch panels is estimated to cost between $45 and $50 to produce, though it's currently unclear as to whether this includes the German-made Balda touchscreen or the display element alone.
Apple has so far declined to provide a full breakdown of the components inside the handset, which teardown experts iSuppli estimated could see profit margins upwards of 50 percent before factoring in marketing and revenue sharing with AT&T.