updated 07:19 am EDT, Fri August 31, 2012
Sharp experiencing production glitches with in-cell display tech
Sharp is said to be facing serious production delays of its alleged in-cell touchscreen displays destined for the next-generation iPhone. Sharp had previously promised that it would begin the mass production of the mobile displays with the new technology over this past month, but sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal say that this has not gone ahead as planned. The in-cell display technology uses new manufacturing methods, and Sharp is said to be facing technical difficulties in moving to the mass production phase.
Sharp can ill afford any problems in the supply of its components, particularly as it has been facing significant financial problems in recent months. It lost $1.2 billion over just the course of the first quarter this year, and has had losses prior to that. Apple, however, has tapped three suppliers in total to supply displays for the new iPhone and the two others, Japan Display and LG Display, have reportedly met their mass production targets and are already said to be shipping their in-cell display components to Apple.
How this might affect Apple's launch plans can only be guessed. It is not known if its two other suppliers at are maximum production, or whether they could potentially boost supply to temporarily help to cover the shortfall in display supplies from Sharp. While it is unlikely to affect Apple's heavily-rumored-but-unannounced September 12 launch date, it could result in familiar supply contraints when Apple begins shipping the new handsets.
It is also not the first time Sharp has faced delays in shipping displays featuring cutting-edge technologies to Apple. The new iPad faced supply shortages early in its product cycle as Sharp was unable to achieve sufficient production yields of its 9.7-inch Retina displays. Apple was forced to rely solely on its alternative supplier, Samsung, in order keep the product on its launch schedule.