Sharp confirms display shipments for iPhone 5

Sharp president Takashi Okuda today confirmed to Reuters that his company will begin shipping displays for Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone this month. This is the first time to my knowledge that a major supplier officially confirmed an unreleased Apple product, even if he didn’t give a more specific date for shipments beyond this month. The panels will be four inches corner to corner, 30 percent bigger than current iPhones, sources told the news gathering organization…

Okuda told Reuters:

Shipments will start in August,” Sharp’s new president, Takashi Okuda, said at a press briefing in Tokyo on Thursday after the company released its latest quarterly earnings.

The report notes that Sharp will be delivering in-cell panels, in line with earlier reports:

The iPhone screens will also be thinner than their previous incarnations with the use of so-called in-cell panels. The new technology embeds touch sensors into the liquid crystal display, eliminating the touch-screen layer found in current iPhones.

In addition to Sharp, the other two suppliers of the panels are LG Display and Japan Display, the report has it. The story also states that the next iPhone will be released in October:

Japan’s Sharp Corp. said it will start shipping screens destined for a new Apple iPhone that is widely expected to be released in October ahead of the pre-Christmas shopping season.

This contradicts claims by Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and others that Apple will be holding a media event on September 12 to talk iPhone 5, with release date pinpointed to September 21.

The confirmation is also surprising given Tim Cook’s acknowledgment at the D10 conference that Apple would absolutely double down on security to prevent leaks and hints about upcoming products from hitting headlines.

Another report from today cited a Display Search analyst who estimated that panel production for a rumored mini iPad will commence later this month, with production ramping up to more than a million units per month in the fourth quarter.

Analysts warned that speculation about upcoming products would hurt Apple’s June quarter performance. The company eventually shipped 26 million iPhones during the quarter, three million iPhones less than Wall Street was hoping for.

Apple’s executives told investors on a conference call that a slowdown in sales was caused by the swirling rumors regarding the next iPhone so many people delayed upgrading to the nine-month-old iPhone 4S.

Again, it’s a little peculiar that Sharp president would go public with such a sensitive piece of information.

Perhaps Cook-led Apple is more relaxed now about these things?