updated 05:25 pm EST, Fri November 25, 2011
Sharp said locked in for iPad 3 LCDs
Repeated talk of Sharp making iPad 3 LCDs was backed up by leaks on Friday. The tip to the Wall Street Journal supported talk that Sharp's repurposed TV plant in Kameyama was switching over at least partly to handle Apple's demands. Possibly confirming Apple's mysterious major investment, they said that Apple itself had paid to help get the manufacturing started.
Sharp is already known to be making current-generation iPhone displays, and it would also be supplying for the 2012 iPhone, the sources said. Whether or not that involved LTPS-based LCDs wasn't mentioned.
Neither side has commented on the talks.
Involvement from Sharp is expected to join LG and Samsung and would help boost production. The iPad 3 is widely rumored to have a 2048x1536 display, four times the resolution of what the iPad has today, and may need to have insurance that its as yet unproven technology can be built in large enough numbers to fill demand. Samsung's 2560x1600 tablet LCD, due early next year, was shown just weeks ago at a Japanese display conference with glitches that hinted Samsung was having problems getting reliable output of its in-house technology.
Sharp has a strong motivation to court Apple. The TV market as a whole is still struggling with problems of oversaturation and a tough economy. Tablets and smartphones help it diversify away and potentially thrive where Sony and others still depend mostly on TV sets.