4.7-inch phones first, 5.5-inch phone 'could be delayed'
Apple's suppliers should start mass production of next-generation iPhone displays in May, in preparation for a launch expected this fall, according to supply chain sources in contact with Reuters. In keeping with earlier rumors, the suppliers are said to include Sharp, LG Display, and Japan Display. The sources claim that 4.7-inch displays should enter production first, while 5.5-inch screens could be delayed. Reuters describes both sizes as belonging to the iPhone 6, but it's unclear if Apple itself will use the same distinction.
Company is responsible for screens in current iPhones
Japan Display, the company currently responsible for manufacturing some of the screens for Apple's iPhone 5c and 5s, are readying an IPO offering to raise $4 billion in capital to expand production capacity and aid in development of future technologies. The company, formed of the display units from Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba and Japanese government backing, currently holds a 17 percent share of small and medium-sized displays in the world market.
Bright, high-resolution display panels for smartphones go into production
Screen manufacturer Japan Display has started mass production on a new panel for smartphones. The new WhiteMagic display is a five-inch TFT LCD module with a resolution of 1080x1920, giving it a pixel density of 446ppi, which uses the same display technology as earlier, lower resolution models for a bright image with low power requirements.
Legal troubles having no effect
Despite legal battles between the two companies, Samsung is actually gaining ground as a display supplier for Apple, says NPD DisplaySearch. Samsung shipped more 9.7-inch iPad panels in April and June than Apple's other major display partner, LG Display. NPD notes moreover that Apple been increasing its orders since January; whereas it picked up 2.3 million panels from Samsung in the first quarter, shipments rose to over 4.1 million in Q2.
Device could grow as large as 5.7 inches
Apple is considering a range of possible options for expanding its iPhone lineup in 2014, say four sources for Reuters, some of which are said to be with Asian suppliers. The people claim that Apple is considering two bigger iPhone sizes, including 4.7- and 5.7-inch dimensions. Suppliers have reportedly been approached with plans for the bigger screens, but whether or not they'll make it into shipping products is uncertain. "They constantly change product specifications almost to the final moment, so you're not really sure whether this is the final prototype," one source says.
Phone allegedly seeing 'weaker-than-expected' demand
Apple is slashing its parts orders for the iPhone 5 due to demand falling lower than expected, say Wall Street Journal sources. For the current quarter Apple has reportedly cut screen orders to about half of what it had originally planned for. The sources note that Apple told suppliers about reduced orders last month; one source elaborates that more than just screens have been affected. Sharp, LG Display, and Japan Display Co. are allegedly the main suppliers for iPhone 5 screen panels.
LG, Sharp, Japan Display again named as builders
Sources for Reuters are supporting Wall Street Journal claims that Apple is using 4-inch displays for the next iPhone, and has already begun to place orders for the new parts. As with the earlier report, Reuters says that LG Display, Sharp, and Japan Display are handling production, which is allegedly in early stages; full production orders could begin in June. iPhone assembly could start as soon as August, if Apple follows normal patterns. One source comments that it's still uncertain what share of display production each supplier will have.
WSJ tips larger 4-inch display for new iPhone
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has placed orders for iPhone displays measuring ‘at least 4-inches diagonally’ for its sixth generation iPhone expected in October. Citing ‘people familiar with the situation’ production on the new displays is set to begin next month. Apple is said to be working with LG, Sharp and Japan Display (a newly formed partnership between Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba) on the new screens, which can be expected to be Retina Display-class.
Japan Display starts business
Screen technology alliance Japan Display has formally launched operations as of the start of April. The teamwork between Hitachi, Sony, Toshiba, and the government's Innovation Network Corporation of Japan is divided and will have several divisions, some of which are behind the scenes while others will focus on specific markets. It will have separate sections for automotive and mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, along with wider research and production teams.
Apple may get 4-inch device screen early
Talk of four-inch iOS devices gained incidental support through a rumor emerging Saturday. Contradicting talk of LG, Samsung, and Sharp being involved, Macotakara claimed that two of the three companies forming the Japan Display alliance, Hitachi and Sony, were already producing both iPad 3 LCDs and four-inch LCDs for a "new iOS device." The unnamed Asian contact didn't mention what device it was for, or whether this was full-scale production.