updated 11:20 pm EST, Tue December 14, 2010
iPhone said to be constraining panel supplies
Toshiba has denied rumors that Apple plans to invest in the company's Toshiba Mobile Display subsidiary, which focuses on production of small- and medium-size display panels, according to a DigiTimes report. The rumors had suggested Apple was considering deeper involvement in Toshiba's display production, potentially pushing the supplier to develop new manufacturing methods for AMOLED displays.
Despite the denial of a direct investment, the latest report does not deny Toshiba's potential importance in helping supply display components for the iPhone. Apple's smartphones are said to utilize a specialized form of low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) for its high-end IPS panels.
Toshiba Mobile Display is one of the primary forces behind LTPS production, which is said to have been constrained since the iPhone moved to IPS displays, although the iPhone 4 currently uses an IPS panel supplied by LG. The iPad also uses an IPS panel, but the high volume of tablet production reportedly forced Apple to source displays from both LG and Samsung.
The initial rumors suggested Toshiba was preparing to spend approximately $1.19 billion to build a display factory primarily focused on Apple products. The factory is expected to be ready for production in 2012, in time for Apple's sixth-generation iPhone and other yet-unannounced products.