updated 07:30 am EST, Tue February 22, 2011
Wintek said only white iPhone 5 touch panel maker
Despite the white iPhone 4 not having yet appeared, claims have surfaced on Tuesday that Apple is committing to a specific touch panel supplier for a white iPhone 5. Taiwan's Economic Daily News claimed that Wintek will be the only company supplying the touch layer for the future phone. Apple is "pushing" the white hue this year after having almost entirely missed out on it for the iPhone 4, the trade paper said.
TPK has also been making touch panels for Apple, but Wintek's deal would help push it ahead. The latter had been tapped for the white iPhone 4, but due to the low yields of acceptable quality white-painted glass, it took a significant hit. Rumors have swirled of Apple recommitting to the white iPhone 4 for a brief run after finding a Japanese technique that would address the problem.
The new design would reportedly start shipping as soon as May or June, although this is likely to be part of a stock buildup as Apple gets enough supply onboard for a summer launch. TPK is believed to be pitching in for the next iPad and could see full production occurring in March or April after initial production started earlier this month.
Color had never been a significant issue for Apple until the iPhone 4, as the plastic could be easily colored. The all-glass front and back proved problematic after the initial solution couldn't get enough consistently colored white glass, leaving Apple with just black for nearly all of the production run.