updated 10:06 am EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
Could make Sharp more integral to Apple supply chain
Apple's main assembly partner, Foxconn, is in talks to use Sharp technology to help build iPhone and iPad displays, says Taiwanese publication the United Daily News. Sharp is one of several companies already involved in producing displays for Apple products; if Foxconn itself can build displays, though, it could reduce supply bottlenecks, streamline development, and/or reduce Apple's dependence on other panel suppliers, which include LG Display, Japan Display, and Samsung.
Samsung in particular is a likely target for Apple. The two companies have been squaring off legally and in the marketplace, and where possible Apple has tried to lower its dependence on Samsung parts. The latter is, however, one of the few manufacturers capable of handling chip and display production on the scale Apple needs.
Foxconn and Sharp have collaborated in the past; they entered into a strategic partnership in 2012, and opened an iPhone display plant in Chengdu, China. At one point Foxconn was expected to secure a 10 percent share of Sharp, but those plans fell through.