updated 10:00 am EDT, Fri May 4, 2012
Parts shipments could slip up to 20 percent in current quarter
Two of Apple's touch panel suppliers, TPK and Wintek, wiil see shipments to drop by 15 to 20 percent in the current quarter because of the transition from the iPhone 4S to the next-generation iPhone, industry sources tell DigiTimes. The 4S is described as "moving into the final stage of its product life cycle," and TPK has previously stated that it expects revenues to fall 10 percent sequentially in Q2 as a result of iPhone 4S stockpiling and people holding off on buying an iPhone.
The sources also suggest, however, that Apple will probably switch to in-cell touch for the next iPhone. The technology merges touch sensors into the screen itself, meaning that companies like TPK and Wintek won't be able to sell Apple any touch modules. The sources estimate that in the second half of 2012, TPK and Wintek's combined deliveries to Apple will be about a third of those for the first half of the year.
Wintek recently reported revenues falling 11.4 percent month-to-month in April to $317.43 million, although the figure compares against record revenues in March.
Apple is generally believed to be many months away from shipping the next iPhone, if it keeps to the same launch schedule as the iPhone 4S, which debuted in October. Suppliers though will need to prepare well in advance, delivering parts in time for a month or two of manufacturing to build up launch inventories.