Sharp in talks with Apple to regain control of iPhone panel plant

By Cody Lee on Jul 11, 2014

Sharp is looking to regain control of its Kameyama plant back from Apple. Nikkei is reporting this afternoon that the company has proposed a deal to the Cupertino firm worth nearly $300 million, in an effort to diversify its customer base.

The Kameyama Plant No. 1 began operations in 2004 as a facility for manufacturing large panels for flat-screen TVs. But after consecutive years of profit losses, it called on Apple to help foot the bill to transition the plant to smaller panels… Read More


Apple adds Innolux as third iPhone 6 screen supplier, Samsung and Sharp lose orders

By Christian Zibreg on May 19, 2014

Although Samsung of South Korea should build Apple’s in-house designed A8 processor for the next iPhone and has remained the top iPad display supplier, it looks like the conglomerate won’t make it on the list of suppliers providing 4.7-inch display panels for the iPhone 6.

A new report by Taiwanese media alleges that Apple dropped both Samsung as Sharp as iPhone 6 display suppliers, instead adding Innolux as a third supplier of iPhone 6 screens.. Read More


Production of 4.7-inch iPhone 6 screens to start in May, 5.5-inch model delayed

By Cody Lee on Mar 31, 2014

Production on screens for the 4.7-inch version of Apple’s next iPhone could start as early as May, according to a new report from Reuters. Citing supply chain sources, the outlet says that Japan Display and other manufacturers are readying their facilities and could begin churning out panels next month.

Unfortunately, for those looking forward to the oft-rumored 5.5-inch model, it sounds like production issues have forced Apple to delay the handset. Reuters says that manufacturers are running into difficulties with in-cell technology, and the larger displays may not go into production for several months… Read More


Nikkei: Apple to launch 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone as early as September

By Cody Lee on Mar 27, 2014

Japanese news outlet Nikkei threw its weight behind a popular rumor today, reporting that Apple’s next-gen iPhone will come in both 4.7- and 5.5-inch models. The theory that the company is working on two new larger-sized handsets has been reiterated several times over the past 6 months.

Citing sources within Apple’s supply chain, Nikkei says that manufacturers have already begun making components for the new smartphones, like fingerprint sensors and chips for liquid-crystal drivers, and Sharp, Japan Display and LG will begin mass-producing their panels as early as April… Read More


Apple now selling 4K Sharp displays in its European web stores

By Cody Lee on Dec 6, 2013

Apple has begun offering a 32-inch Sharp Ultra HD LED monitor in its European web stores. The 4K monitor, which retails for £3,499.00 (or roughly $5,700 USD), has been available since November, but this is the first we’ve heard of Apple selling it.

The display uses Sharp’s IGZO technology (Indium gallium zinc oxide) and has a resolution of 3840 x 2160. It offers a 1.07 billion color palette, an 800:1 contrast ratio, and comes with DisplayPort support (though it doesn’t include the Mini DP adapter)… Read More


Some early adopters complaining about screen burn-in on their Retina iPad mini

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 15, 2013

An unknown portion of the first batch of Retina iPad minis coming out of assembly line is apparently plagued with the screen retention problem, reports from disgruntled users claim. Every Apple product launch is marred with teething issues, though this one is more than skin-deep. As we reported, Korea’s ETNews blamed the issues last week on production woes with Sharp-made IGZO Retina panels.

Manufacturing issues have apparently prompted Apple to negotiate with Samsung Display for the supply of 7.9-inch Retina screens starting next year, as Samsung’s display-making unit “was the first to solve the technological problem”. At the heart of the issue is malfunctioning of Sharp’s thin-film transistor screen technology… Read More


Screen burn-ins apparently causing delayed Retina iPad mini launch

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 8, 2013

Apple’s web page advertises the new iPad mini with Retina display as coming in late November. In Apple’s parlance, that’s probably November 29, a Friday. Apple’s penchant for making new products available shortly following the announcement was not on display at the October 22 media event as the company said the new iPad mini would not launch alongside the iPad Air.

We already heard that Apple was looking to both LG Display and Samsung as the primary iPad mini screen supplier Sharp has been experiencing issues producing high-resolution 7.9-inch IGZO panels, causing limited supplies at launch. A new report alleges Sharp’s LCD panels are actually suffering from burn-in problems, prompting Apple once again to seek help from arch-rival Samsung… Read More


Apple looks to Samsung as LG Display, Sharp struggle to make mini Retina panels

By Cody Lee on Nov 1, 2013

It looks like Apple’s Retina iPad mini production problems are worse than we thought. According to a new report, both LG Display and Sharp are having so much trouble mass-producing the hi-res panels for the tablet that the company has been forced to turn to rival Samsung for help… Read More


iPhone 6 may adopt IGZO screens as Sharp finally commercializes tech

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 21, 2013

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… Read More


Ongoing challenges forcing Apple to buy Retina iPad mini screens from Samsung?

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 23, 2013

Run for years by the then op-chief Tim Cook, Apple’s supply chain has become the stuff of the legend. Would-be watchers naively believe deciphering Apple’s next move is as easy as keeping tabs on the chatter coming out of Asia’s supply chain. Tim Cook, of course, begs to differ: on one of conference calls, Apple’s boss cautioned investors against drawing conclusion from any one data point as the company’s supply chain is a very complex beast.

So here’s something for investors and fans to chew on: ET News reported Tuesday that Apple is considering tapping Samsung Display to produce low-power Retina screens for the upcoming second-generation iPad mini because AU Optronics (AUO) was unable to deliver. Samsung would presumably make the screens alongside LG Display, Sharp and perhaps Japan Display, according to a previous February 2013 reportRead More


Apple to finally make shift to IGZO displays next year

By Cody Lee on Jul 10, 2013

According to a new report, upcoming iPads and MacBook laptops should feature significantly better battery life thanks to their use of IGZO display panels. The technology, which uses indium gallium zinc oxide, was co-developed by Sharp and Semiconductor Energy Laboratories.

Apple has long been rumored to adopt the use of IGZO display panels in its mobile products, but production issues and other barriers have prevented this from happening. But if today’s news holds true, that could change as early as this year thanks to supply chain advancements… Read More


DigiTimes: 33 percent lighter iPad 5 on track for September release

By Christian Zibreg on May 20, 2013

DigiTimes, the-sometimes-reliable Taiwanese trade publication, on Monday ran a report which quotes sources with Taiwan’s supply chain who claim that a fifth revision to Apple’s full-size 9.7-inch iPad will be 25-33 percent lighter than its previous generation.

The fifth-generation iPad is believed to be entering trial production next month, meaning the device should be on track for a rumored September launch. Initial output is pegged at up to three million units until Apple and its manufacturing partners reach yield levels necessary to ramp up production… Read More


Samsung’s cash pile triples, but still no match for Apple’s $145B hoard

By Ed Sutherland on May 9, 2013

Much is being made of Samsung’s hoard of cash, estimated at $28.5 billion once the South Korean conglomerate’s debt is taken into consideration. At any rate, the Galaxy maker has watched its net cash almost triple in the past year, thanks to double-digit profits fueled by the rising sales of its mobile division which makes smartphones and tablets.

In just three years, mobile phones have grown to be 74 percent of Samsung’s profits, overshadowing sales of LCD TVs and memory chips. On other words, three out of every four dollars Samsung earns come from mobile devices.

However, Apple remains the industry’s most-profitable player, retaining a $145 billion cash pile while offering anxious investors a $100 billion stock buyback. Is Samsung destined to follow Apple’s footsteps, or repeat the errors of other Asian giants, such as Panasonic, drowning in debt? Read More


Sharp expected to begin iPhone 5S display production in June

By Cody Lee on May 8, 2013

Earlier this year, it was believed that the iPhone 5S would go into production in March ahead of an early summer release. But after rumors of manufacturing issues began to circulate, the handset’s expected arrival time was pushed back to the fall.

And a new report out of the east this morning corroborates that theory. A Japanese newspaper is reporting that Sharp, one of Apple’s primary panel partners, is gearing up to begin mass production of LCD displays for the iPhone 5S next month… Read More


Foxconn boss cancels talks with Sharp over Samsung investment

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 19, 2013

Earlier this month we told you that Apple’s frenemy Samsung confirmed a plan to pour a cool $112 million into buying a three percent stake in Sharp. Making matters complicated, Sharp, an Apple supplier, has been trying to negotiate another investment from Apple’s favorite manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry, known in the Western world as Foxconn. Last year, as you know, Foxconn was trying to acquire an eleven percent stake in Sharp.

There have been indications that Foxconn wanted to re-negotiate after Sharp’s share price tumbled, but most recent reports assert the deal has all but fallen apart. We’re now hearing that Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has cancelled talks with Sharp after learning that his potential partner has gone to bed with Samsung, even more so now that Sharp is expected to supply more LCD panels to Samsung than to Apple… Read More


Samsung buys 3% of Apple screen supplier Sharp

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 6, 2013

Apple is Samsung’s largest buyer of components, accounting for 8.8 percent of Samsung’s revenue. The two firms are also bitter enemies when it comes to litigation as they remain entangled in a complicated web of more than 20 lawsuits spanning continents.

As if that weren’t bad enough, now comes the definite confirmation that the Galaxy maker pledged to spend $112 million to buy a three percent stake in Sharp, which has been struggling to stay afloat amid losses and low manufacturing yields.

The investment, a strategic move on the part of the South Korean conglomerate, is meant to give Samsung a steady supply of LCD panels from diversified sources. Apple, too, was rumored to have spent to the tune of $2 billion to prevent Sharp from going under.

Additionally, the iPhone maker is thought to have tried to save the Japanese giant through its preferred contract manufacturer Foxconn, which last year wanted to buy eleven percent of Sharp. The deadline for that transaction closes later this month, but the deal may have already hit the wall after Sharp’s share price tumbled… Read More


Sharp and Foxconn deal has all but fallen apart

By Cody Lee on Feb 25, 2013

For a year now, we’ve been hearing that Foxconn was going to buy a large stake in Sharp Corp. Speculation of the deal has run rampant, going so far as to implicate that the partnership was part of Apple’s plans to build a TV.

But over the last several months, Sharp’s business has started to falter, causing Foxconn to rethink things. Since then, the companies haven’t been able to come to an agreement. And according to a new report, they won’t… Read More


Apple again seen cutting iPhone 5 panel orders

By Cody Lee on Jan 21, 2013

Last week, a couple of reports surfaced claiming that Apple has been trimming component orders for its iPhone 5. While the exact reasons for the cutbacks are still unknown, many market-watchers are citing weaker-than-expected demand as the main factor.

But no matter what the reasoning is, it seems the cuts are happening. Another report popped up this weekend claiming that the Cupertino company has contacted Sharp Corp. and asked them to cut their iPhone 5 LCD panel orders in half for next quarter… Read More


Sharp said to be cutting production of 9.7-inch iPad screens

By Cody Lee on Jan 18, 2013

Reuters has issued a report this morning claiming that Sharp is cutting down production on iPad screens. The outlet cites two industry sources, who say the corp. has nearly halted manufacturing of 9.7-inch screens for the tablet at its Kameyama plant in Japan.

It’s not clear how much of the slowdown is due to seasonal changes in demand, or cannibalization, thanks to a rising consumer interest in Apple’s iPad mini. But regardless, this is still the second report of the Cupertino company cutting part orders this week… Read More


CES 2013: Sharp talks IGZO display tech

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 8, 2013

Sharp, one of Japan’s three struggling consumer electronics giants (the other two are Sony and Panasonic), showed off its IGZO panels at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Last we heard, Apple was hoping to use IGZO tech in upcoming products. It’s interesting Sharp’s demonstration included Corning, the maker of the iPhone’s cover glass that in its third-generation boasts 40 percent higher scratch resistances and 50 percent better overall strength. Sharp’s IGZO technology requires only a fraction of energy compared to traditional LCD screens and provides richer, livelier colors, deeper blacks and overall sharper images while maintaining the thinness of in-cell display tech featured on the iPhone 5Read More

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