Sharp Kameyama Plant (image 001)

Apple has long wanted to make a switch from the traditional LCD IPS display technology utilized on iOS devices to Sharp’s cutting-edge IGZO technology.

Unfortunately, Apple’s been unable to offer an IGZO iPhone because the struggling Japanese giant had been facing tremendous technical hurdles preventing mass production of these sophisticated panels.

According to the latest supply chain chatter, Sharp has now successfully commercialized production of IGZO panels for smartphones and will begin manufacturing them at its Kameyama Plant Number 2 before the end of 2013…

The somewhat reliable DigiTimes reported this past Friday that the Kameyama Plant Number 2 will use 8G glass substrate technology for the smartphone-sized IGZO panels.

This is the same plant where Sharp’s been building large LCD TV panels.

Using 8G glass substrates, Sharp will be the first company in the world to achieve commercial production of high-definition LCD panels for smartphones, the company said.

The highly efficient production levels achievable with 8G glass substrates will be made possible by an optimized production process as well as by IGZO technology’s ability to enable smaller thin-film transistors and increased light transmittance.

This makes Sharp – a major Apple display supplier – the first to successfully mass-produce IGZO panels. Here’s their 32-inch class IGZO Ultra HD multitouch display at Digital Signage Expo 2013.

IGZO is the semiconductor material combining indium, gallium, zinc and oxide.

It was designed to replace the standard amorphous silicon material used for the active layer in thin-film transistors.

An IGZO iPhone 6 would be a very big deal.

Firstly, Sharp’s panel draws only one-tenth of energy required to power the traditional LCD display. Secondly, other benefits of IGZO tech include ultra high-resolutions and unmatched clarity – up to four times that of conventional full-HD or 1080p LCDs.

And lastly, IGZO claims a high performance touch response the iPhones are famous for and only uses extra power when the user touches the screen. In the meantime, Apple may want to update its website graphics saying “only the iPhone has Retina display”.


There’s nothing factually wrong with the statement unless you consider ‘Retina’ in Apple’s marketing parlance really is just a measure of pixel density (326ppi on the iPhone). The problem is, full HD 1080p (1,920-by-1,080 pixel resolution) smartphone screens are now pretty much the norm on high-end Android devices.

Apple supplier LG Display’s been making 440ppi phone screens since May 2012 and HTC introduced the world to the first five-inch 1080p phone a year ago. Apple’s four-inch Retina display on the iPhone 5/5s/5c maxes out at 640-by-1,136 pixels.

It all pales in comparison to China, where folks are slowly but surely moving to 2K screens for phones.

Just recently, for example, Chinese manufacturer Vivo teased the future by releasing the Vivo Xplay3S smartphone whose screen of unknown dimensions boasts a 2K resolution of 1,440-by-2,560 pixels – more than the iPad’s Retina display and matching the resolution of my 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display.

IGOZ smartphone

As for the state of IGZO, Sharp formally announced the technology in March 2012.

Since then, the firm has built a Japan-only seven-inch IGZO tablet called the Aquos Pad SHT 21 and a 32-inch IGZO monitor boasting a 4K resolution of 3,840-by-2,160 pixels.

After smartphones, Sharp allegedly plans to roll out IGZO panels to tablets, notebooks and Ultra HD (4K) displays and television sets.

Interestingly, Korea’s IT News reported in July that Apple was shifting to IGZO displays for 2014 iPhones next year in order to “lessen mobile devices’ energy consumption”.

The story claimed Apple had tasked Sharp with producing the panels, while LG Display had been upgrading its AMOLED and LCD production lines to ones capable of rolling out IGZO panels.

Conveniently enough, Apple recently hired LG Display’s OLED expert.

Image top of post: Sharp’s Kameyama Plant.

  • screech

    iPhone 6 needs to be wider

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      No phone needs to be wider. As long as it works fine there’s no need to increase the screen size (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it). You might want a bigger screen although wanting and needing are two completely different things…

      • bigtalk

        iPhone 5 is disproportionately long if they make it longer it will be very odd

      • Rowan09

        I agree, I don’t think they’ll make it longer but the screen might be flush with less bezel and the sides will be slightly wider

      • Yunsar

        No, the ratio is 16:9 or widescreen and most phones have a widescreen display. Maybe it’s because you’re used to the old iPhone

      • illK†Δ

        Wider screen, not wider phone. (Edge to edge screen)

      • mav3rick

        Because only they know what users need.

    • JulianZH

      No thanks. Can’t fit in one hand.

  • n00b

    all I want is a battery that lasts a day while actually using the phone

    • bigtalk

      by now batteries should get at least get 30hours minimum..

      • Sean Clark



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  • Zhimin BrownEyez

    impossible , apple is already know for outdated devices and stuff and this technology won’t be matured enough for iphone6 probally fro iphone 7 or 7s as every one year apple upgrades iphone , iphone 5s-one year- iphone 6 which is quite impossible

    • Rowan09

      I don’t think it’s impossible it’s been said that Apple wanted to use IGZO displays for about 2 years now. The problem as stated in the article is mass producing the panels which it seems isn’t a issue anymore, so it’s very possible. The iPhone 6 selling point will be in my opinion a bigger screen, IGZO display and all day battery life. We’ll have to wait until next year to see what happens.

      • bigtalk

        the display is good enough now it sjut too small iPhone 6 needs tko look dramatically different and better that iPhone 5.. this is make it or break it time for apple cause 5S is very boring..

      • Rowan09

        It’s an S model but a bigger screen and IGZO display won’t make the phone less boring. Maybe you don’t have the right apps.


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      • Jimmy Wade

        yeah only hundreds of thousands of people are buying them. You people crack me up. Who needs the comics!


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        wewe namn gtfdahyhsgtre dayhsgtre sahyhsgtre dahyhsgtreadsahsgtre dahyhgtre dahyhsgte gtgsfrea sahyhsgtrea fdahyhsgtrt dahyhsgtre gada hyhsgtrtre dagtgsfreahyhsgtre sahyhsgtre dahyhsgtre dahyhsgtrea haha dsahyhsgtre ?

  • Markus Hudobnik

    iPhone 6 needs to have a bigger screen, retaining 16:9 obviously. I don’t really care how big. It just needs to be slightly larger. Maybe fill in the bezels on the iPhone right now, or just make the device 4.5 inch screen.

    • John Sklikas

      I agree should the bezels become narrower. If the iPhone becomes larger, then no, we will be holding another shoe in our hand (err S4, this thing has the size of a shoe!)

      • Markus Hudobnik

        Well, yeah. That’s why i said slightly larger. 4.5 inch would be nice in my opinion

      • bigtalk

        it should not get any longer they ned to make it wider and just fill more of the top and bottom empty areas


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    • Carlos Gomes

      This! I don’t want anything huge either, but slightly bigger and keeping the ratio will be perfect for me.

      Oh and hell yeah for filling the bezels.

      • Markus Hudobnik

        Yeah! 5 inch is too big in my opinion (but if it does happen, I won’t be opposed to it). 4.5 plus filling in the bezels would be awesome.


        he how do me sahyhagtre sahynds hyha hyhagtre dtas gtgafre sagtgafre sahyhagtre sahyhagtr sahyhagtre ?

  • bigtalk

    great iphone 6 needs to make a huge splash cause iPhones are very very boring right now..

  • Dao Sasone

    finally. Something worth upgrading.


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  • Obsidian71

    Remember folks we’re talking about backplane technology here. Apple doesn’t use Amorphous silicon (a-Si ) technology in the iPhones. They use the more expensive Low Temperature Polysilicon (LTPS) which delivers better quality albeit at a more expensive price and power envelope. What if you could deliver LTPS quality in the same power envelope of a-SI? Win/Win right? Enter IGZO. The display quality of LTPS with the low power of a-SI.

    That is why it’s a big deal. I’ve seen IGZO screens (CES 2013) and it lives up to the hype in quality. Can Sharp volume produce, as Christian says, is the key

  • Taf Khan

    IGZO screen tech should make a big difference to battery life.. I really hope Apple implement IGZO into iDevices,

  • Joseph A. Ahmad

    The things people keep saying is all day battery life. What one needs to realize is, IGZO screens would be MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, more power efficient than LCD or OLED displays. I believe I read an article stating that IGZO screens could saved between 80% – 90% power. There’s your increased battery life right there.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Those who are holding up for iphone 6 with larger screen with igzo (hopefully) like this post! Oh yeah!


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