Could borrow concepts from Amazon Fire Phone
Apple is working on a form of glasses-free 3D display, and a matching set of "software ecosystems," supply chain sources tell the Chinese-language Economic Daily. The technology will reportedly force Apple to switch from its current in-cell display technology to new panels, likely supplied by TPK. Apple has filed patents for 3D user interfaces in the past, but this may mark the first rumor of the company actually putting ideas into practice.
Tablet should be thinner, faster, equipped with Touch ID
Supply firms are ramping up production for the second-generation iPad Air, sources say. The people indicate that touch panel makers like TPK and GIS are receiving Apple orders for full-lamination units. Sharp, Japan Display, and LG Display -- typically believed to be the tablet's main LCD suppliers -- are also reportedly receiving an uptick in orders, but for the iPhone.
Effect on launch schedules uncertain
Changes in profit forecasts at TPK may signal delays in iWatch production, reports suggest. Taiwanese publication UDN notes that TPK -- thought to be making touch modules for the iWatch -- has pushed back a predicted third-quarter profit surge into the next quarter. Since suppliers often experience such surges in association with Apple orders, it could mean that iWatch production has suffered setbacks. TPK also provides touch components for devices like the iPhone and iPad, however.
Apple allegedly aiming at 65 million iWatches by end of year
The Apple iWatch will ship in the third quarter of the year and be manufactured by Quanta Computer, claims Taiwan's Economic Daily News, as quoted by Digitimes. Two other companies, Richtek and TPK, will reportedly be supplying chips and sapphire touch panels. The watch's processor is expected to be developed by Apple, but manufactured by Samsung, which currently handles all iOS processor production. Apple is said to be aiming at having 65 million iWatches assembled by the end of 2014.
Display expected to use silver nanowire touchscreen tech
Apple may be using TPK as its touch panel supplier for the iWatch, according to rumors surfaced by the China Times. The watch is expected to use silver nanowire touchscreen technology developed by TPK in partnership with Nissha Printing. TPK is slated to start producing its first silver nanowire panels in April, but those for the iWatch aren't expected to enter mass production until much later, in the second half of the year.
Tablet expected to be thinner, Mini-like
Mass production of the fifth-generation iPad is only slated to start in a July-August window, say DigiTimes sources in Taiwan-based supply companies. The people add that the display is expected to be manufactured by Sharp and LG Display, while touch panel assembly will be done by TPK, and ITO thin film will come from Nitto Denko and Teijin. Some earlier rumors had an iPad announcement taking place as soon as this month.
LG, Sharp tapped as panel suppliers
The fifth-generation iPad will use the same G/F2 (DITO) thin-film touchscreen format as the iPad mini, claim industry sources for DigiTimes. The fourth-gen model uses a more conventional G/G touchscreen arrangement, but the sources suggest that Apple may feel it has enough supply of DITO to carry it over to the flagship iPad. The technology could help make the tablet even thinner and lighter than it is currently.
2012 launch expected with 6 million units
Two companies, LG and AU Optronics, have been certified to supply LCD panels for Apple's rumored 7/7.85-inch iPad, says the Taiwanese publication Liberty Times. The firms are claimed to be aiming toward a product launch sometime in the second half of 2012, and an initial run of 6 million iPads. Liberty adds that TPK is expected to produce 4 million backlight modules, while Chimei Innolux will build 2 million; Nissha Printing will allegedly produce the touch film sensor.
Tech could cut down cost of lower-end iPad
Apple's often-reported 7/7.85-inch iPad will use "G/F2" thin-film touch technology, a rumor from DigiTimes claims. The site says that Nitto will supply thin-film materials, while Nissha Printing and TPK will produce touchscreens. For Apple the advantage should not only be a thinner display, but also reduced costs, which may be essential if the tablet has a $200-250 pricetag rumored elsewhere.
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.
iPhone 2012 may drop glass-on-glass touch
Apple's next iPhone might drop the traditional glass-on-glass approach to touchscreens if one rumor proves true. Part suppliers claimed to Digitimes that Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display were "likely" producing in-cell touch panels now that yield rates were good enough for the two to participate. The two would start production of in-cell panels sometime during the spring, although it wasn't clear if that schedule would include Apple.
Amazon may have up to 4 tablets in 2012
Amazon's rumored Kindle Fire lineup expansion might get larger still based on an unusually specific rumor late Wednesday. There would be "at least two" new Kindle Fire models in 2012, Digitimes insisted, with as many as four depending on Amazon's ambitions. A 10.1-inch model was supposedly on track for July shipments and would aim at the $249 to $299 price range, with HannsTouch supposedly joining TPK and Wintek in making touch panels.
Multi-Fineline Electronix posts high Dec. sales
The performance of Apple suppliers is pointing toward a strong December quarter for the company, analysts indicate. UBS analyst Maynard Um uses the example of Multi-Fineline Electronix, which helps supply flexible printed circuit boards for products like the iPhone and iPad. MFE has posted preliminary net sales of $239 million for the quarter, exceeding a $215 million consensus forecast.
TPK gains, Wintek, Sintek lose
Recent problems with Wintek touchpanels are creating ripple effects throughout the Taiwanese touchpanel industry, say industry sources contacted by Digitimes. Because of the trouble, Apple -- a key Wintek client -- is said to have have rearranged panel orders among other suppliers. The major beneficiary has allegedly been TPK, which saw revenue jump 53.7 percent month-over-month in September, or 139.7 percent year-over-year.
Wintek allegedly hit by iPhone 5 screen issue
Apple's shipments of the iPhone 5 might have been slowed down by a defect surfacing in some touchscreens, a rumor maintained late Thursday. Wintek, which normally makes a significant portion of Apple's touch panels, has supposedly had a problem with 'delayed bubbles,' Digitimes said. While not serious given similarity to the iPhone 4 process, the issue can sometimes be found only during the final assembly process, at which point it's too late to fix the panel.
Nook Color 2 may be mild external update
Barnes & Noble's sequel to the Nook Color could be ready in days if a rumor from the supply chain is real. The design is supposedly due this month with a similar seven-inch screen and the same Android support for apps, e-mail, and other extras. Digitimes understood that Inventec would be the main manufacturer with Pegatron helping out and TPK making the touchscreen panels.
Pegatron may have iPad 3 deal locked in
In spite of a seeming loss, Pegatron may have landed a key deal to make the iPad 3, insiders claimed Thursday. The Taiwan contract manufacturer was said to have won a deal to ship some of the tablets alongside Apple's usual manufacturer, Foxconn (Hon Hai). The Taiwan Economic News source had most individual suppliers remaining the same.
Analyst checks point to white iPod touch 5
(Updated with alleged white iPod touch photo) New estimates by Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggest Apple will bring white back to the iPod for the first time in years through the fifth-generation iPod touch. The design is rumored to be much like that of the iPad 2, where only the front gets the new color. Kuo told AppleInsider the design showed few signs of direct changes and would be in volume production in late August.
About 5 million iPad 2 touch panels due in July
Apple may be planning a larger production ramp than first thought for the iPad 2 this summer. Part supplier leaks Tuesday have the company's combined partners shipping five million touch panels just in July. Digitimes' sources said that Apple had also moved five million in June, making it likely the company is shipping as many or more during the holidays.
iPhone 5 and even iPad 3 production starting up
The earliest phases of production for the iPhone 5 and supposedly the iPad 3 are underway, part suppliers maintained Friday. Suppliers are reportedly gathering materials now with the expectation that full-scale assembly and shipments will start in both for August with releases on or before October. Despite rumors, just one completely new iPhone was claimed by Digitimes' sources to be on tap, while the iPad 3 may have a 2048x1536 display that would crest a pixel density of 250DPI, even as it goes thinner and lighter.
Amazon tablet to start off with huge 2m shipment
Amazon's plan to launch its tablets in September could involve a very aggressive opening month, part suppliers said Wednesday night. HannStar, J Touch, and Wintek are expected to supply touchscreen panels for the Android slates with a goal of shipping 1.5 million to two million just for that month alone. Earlier Digitimes sources had already penned in estimates of four million for 2011, hinting that Amazon is counting on a large-scale launch but slowing down quickly later on.
iPad 2 panel spike hints at shipment rush
Apple is expecting a large surge in demand for the iPad 2 in the back-to-school period, leaked supply numbers hint. One of the tablet's panel makers, Chimei Innolux, is expected to ship 400,000 to 500,000 iPads in June but more than double that to crest over one million a month in July. Combined with manufacturing from TPK and Wintek, the data led Digitims to word of shipments of 3.5 million to four million iPads every month, or 10.5 million to 12 million every quarter.
Suppliers say 2.4m iPad 2 delivered in March
Apple may have had very aggressive launch shipments of the iPad 2 despite the shortages, part suppliers said Wednesday. About 2.4 million to 2.6 million of the tablets are believed to have shipped just in March. The rate should accelerate faster still, Digitimes said, and would hit four million to 4.3 million per month in each spring month to lead to at least 12 million iPad 2s in the season.
iSuppli and UBM estimate iPad 2 at 326 tops
Analysts have provided somewhat conflicting cost breakdowns for the iPad 2 that nonetheless both put the Motorola Xoom in a poor light. iSuppli said Apple's tablet should cost $323.35 in raw parts for a 32GB, Verizon (EVDO) version or $326.60 for its AT&T (HSPA) equivalent. The HSPA version needs chipsets with Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi separate from the Intel/Infineon cellular chip where the EVDO version uses an all-in-one Qualcomm chipset, much like in the Verizon iPhone.
Wintek said only white iPhone 5 touch panel maker
Despite the white iPhone 4 not having yet appeared, claims have surfaced on Tuesday that Apple is committing to a specific touch panel supplier for a white iPhone 5. Taiwan's Economic Daily News claimed that Wintek will be the only company supplying the touch layer for the future phone. Apple is "pushing" the white hue this year after having almost entirely missed out on it for the iPhone 4, the trade paper said.
Quartz components buoy TXC
Apple is currently the dominant customer amongst Asian touch panel suppliers, a Digitimes report indicates. "Almost every" touch panel maker capable of mass production is said to be receiving orders from Apple; Wintek and TPK Touch in particular are said to be benefiting from strong iPad sales. Those companies along with Sintek and Cando are all gaining extra capacity this quarter, suggesting that Apple orders may prevent them from suffering a usual seasonal slump.
Suppliers to ship for 2nd-gen iPad in early 2011
Touchscreen part suppliers were said this evening to be validating their processes for the next full-size iPad. Cando, Chimei Innolux, TPK and Wintek are all supposedly having "ultra-thin," 9.7-inch glass touch panels tested for the Apple tablet before they can enter full production. The Digitimes contacts expected the parts to ship at the very start of 2011 for a launch sometime in the early part of that same year.
2010 iPhone leans more on parts from Taiwan
Apple has switched up the suppliers in use for the new iPhone, a report by Taiwan's Economic Daily News paper said today. Foxconn will still put together the finished product, but Apple is now believed using three companies for the touch layer: Chimei Innolux is making 15 percent of the panels while the rest is split between Wintek and TPK. The American company is also leaning more heavily on Taiwan as a whole, as quartz maker TXC and laminate maker Taiflex Scientific are moving from less than a fifth of orders to 45 and 65 percent each.
Apple trades TPK for Wintek to keep iPads flowing
Apple has switched suppliers for the iPad's capacitive touch panel to keep production running, a rumor from Taiwan argued on Friday. The company has supposedly been relying on TPK Touch Solutions for some of the panels but, frustrated with delays, has moved more orders to Wintek to keep production moving. A previous rumor had blamed Wintek itself, but it's implied by DigiTimes that Wintek has either addressed earlier problems or would be used to balance the workload.