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Toshiba building new LCD plant with Apple's help

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Apple is rumored to be investing in part of a $1 billion LCD factory that Toshiba is building mainly to supply panels for the iPhone, as the hugely successful smartphone continues to strain manufacturing capacity with its explosive growth.

Toshiba Mobile Display will construct the plant, which will produce low-temperature polysilicon LCD panels, in the Ishikawa prefecture of Japan, Reuters reports the Nikkei business daily as saying.

Update: Reuters has updated its original report to include a response to the rumor from a Toshiba spokesman. "The report was untrue and nothing had been decided regarding a new plant to build LCD panels for Apple," Reuters reported the spokesman as saying.

Work on the new plant is expected to start by early next year, with production beginning in the second half of 2011, the report noted. Toshiba will reportedly spend about 100 billion yen ($1.19 billion) on the factory.

A preexisting Toshiba plant in the prefecture has a monthly capacity of 8.55 million LCD panels. The new plant is projected to more than double Toshiba's capacity for low-temperature polysilicon panels.

The Nikkei reported that Apple plans to contribute to a portion of the factory investment, though it didn't specify how much.

At the unveiling of the iPhone 4, Apple touted the device's 325 pixels-per-inch Retina Display as the best of any smartphone. "We think this is going to set the standard for the next several years," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Nearly 6 months after the iPhone 4's launch, its global supply remains constrained. In China, wait times for the iPhone 4 are around 2 months and China Unicom has been unable to fulfill a third of its preorders.

In the U.S., availability of the iPhone 4 has improved significantly, with both the 16GB and 32GB currently listed as shipping within 24 hours on Apple's website. Early demand for Apple's latest smartphone caused shortages in the U.S. throughout the summer, but supply has increased in recent months.

Apple revealed in October that it had sold a record 14.1 million iPhones in the September quarter, up 91 percent year over year. During an earnings conference call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer admitted that Apple was struggling to keep up with demand and could have sold even more iPhones if available.

Wall street analysts expect Apple to have an "extremely strong" December quarter with the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air topping many holiday gift lists.
post #2 of 23
Personally, I'm just hoping that the next iPhone will have a larger screen (at least 3.7 inches), as I find cramming ever-more pixels onto the same little 3.5 incher to be a pretty dubious endeavor.

At 3.8 inches the loss in pixel density will be pretty negligible, but usable touch-surface will increase noticeably.

Note: 640x960 at 3.8 inches = 303.63ppi, placing it just above Job's 300ppi 'Retina Display' threshold.
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #3 of 23
I hope this is true, because it would make it an easier jump for me to believe Apple is working on IPS panels that are low power and inexpensive enough to be viable in consumer notebooks, something that has not yet been possible.
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post #4 of 23
So is it true or not? The updated story seems to indicate it's just more unsubstantiated hoo-hah.

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post #5 of 23
I don't know if it's true or not, but it makes sense. After all this time there are still shortages of the iPhone 4 as indicated by it not being "ships in 24 hours" in all countries.

The most likely cause of that is supply shortage and the most likely cause of that is the cutting edge screen.
post #6 of 23
It would be nice if Apple brought manufacturing back to the US again. With all the billions in cash, you would think that would be the right thing to do.

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post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

It would be nice if Apple brought manufacturing back to the US again. With all the billions in cash, you would think that would be the right thing to do.

?
So that they won't have the billions in cash anymore?
You definitely do not own any Apple shares...
post #8 of 23
I live in Melbourne, Australia and still cannot get an iPhone4 from my carrier (3 mobile).
They have been waiting 6 weeks for shipments from Singapore.
The earliest is middle of January 2010 !
No problems, I will wait till then to get my greedy mits on one.
But its a nice problem to have isn't ?

I'm just wondering how the trolls will respond to this benign story.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I hope this is true, because it would make it an easier jump for me to believe Apple is working on IPS panels that are low power and inexpensive enough to be viable in consumer notebooks, something that has not yet been possible.

I wonder, if true, if Apple's investment in the enterprise will ensure product doesn't go to Apple competitors?
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post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by White Rabbit View Post

I live in Melbourne, Australia and still cannot get an iPhone4 from my carrier (3 mobile).
They have been waiting 6 weeks for shipments from Singapore.
The earliest is middle of January 2010 !
No problems, I will wait till then to get my greedy mits on one.
But its a nice problem to have isn't ?

I'm just wondering how the trolls will respond to this benign story.

Sorry to hear about the delays there down under. Good on you for waiting so patiently

The trolls will be researching how to grip the new panels hard enough and just in the right place to make the colors distort.
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post #11 of 23
I was hoping they would invest some of that cash they are sitting on into desktop screens. We have been stuck with 100 +/- 30 DPI screens for 20 years now with no sign of improvement from anywhere.

Now that we see how great the iPhone 4 screen looks with mere 300+ DPI (I say mere because laser prints have been 1600 DPI for a long time now), doesn't everyone finally want high DPI screen for every device they use?

Someone could make a killing by providing 300DPI desktop LCD panels.

Yes, I know current crop of video cards would have a hard time driving 30'' 300 DPI screens, but we have the technology to make more powerful cards that could do it.

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post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario View Post

I was hoping they would invest some of that cash they are sitting on into desktop screens. We have been stuck with 100 +/- 30 DPI screens for 20 years now with no sign of improvement from anywhere.

Now that we see how great the iPhone 4 screen looks with mere 300+ DPI (I say mere because laser prints have been 1600 DPI for a long time now), doesn't everyone finally want high DPI screen for every device they use?

Someone could make a killing by providing 300DPI desktop LCD panels.

Yes, I know current crop of video cards would have a hard time driving 30'' 300 DPI screens, but we have the technology to make more powerful cards that could do it.

I agree. It is amazing how years go by with certain technological limitations e.g. NTSC TVs at 640 x 480 and all the 'high tech' dancing around these limitations (witness the cost of some high end NTSC equipment back in the day) until one day we blow so far past them as to look back and cringe at what we put up with for so long. (I was tempted to use Windows as the example but went for NTSC as it seemed more applicable ).

It is tempting to assume the hold back in such cases is technology itself but I suspect it is often inertia.
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post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario View Post

I was hoping they would invest some of that cash they are sitting on into desktop screens. We have been stuck with 100 +/- 30 DPI screens for 20 years now with no sign of improvement from anywhere.

Now that we see how great the iPhone 4 screen looks with mere 300+ DPI (I say mere because laser prints have been 1600 DPI for a long time now), doesn't everyone finally want high DPI screen for every device they use?

Someone could make a killing by providing 300DPI desktop LCD panels.

Yes, I know current crop of video cards would have a hard time driving 30'' 300 DPI screens, but we have the technology to make more powerful cards that could do it.

There are a few things that need to change for that to happen.

First of all, we need power efficiency in pushing more pixels to the display. This one seems very doable, and I expect the 13" MBA's display to be standad on the 13" MBP on the next refresh. It uses what it typically referred to the High Def display of the 15 and 17 MBPs as it is in the same PPI ballpark. However, these are still very low compared to the iPhone, yet inline with the iPads display.

The other, and this is a major one, is for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion to offer Resolution Independence or something that at mimics it in some fashion, thus allowing for dynamic resizing of display elements. Right now, if you look at the HD display options over the typical display options all Menu Bar is smaller, matching the number of pixels in height between each setup, not a standardized unit of measure. Mac OS X on a normal display can already be difficult with those with less ideal vision.

The last isnt a requirement, but I think its inevitable after seeing what Apple was able to accomplish with the iPad. As mentioned, its PPI is inline with the HD Mac notebook displays, and yet its an IPS panel. Im not sure which of LGs panel types it is, but even at 9.7 at 4:3 it seems fairly power friendly even though Im sure most of the iPads power drain is from the display. Mac notebooks and iPods are also the last of Apples machines to get an iPS display. The desktops and ADC obviously can because they are plugged in to a power source, the iPhone and iPad can because they are smaller, and iPods are a low end Apple product by comparison so they may never get them, which leaves the MacBook lines. It could be a few years, but Apple does offer the best TN displays Ive seen tested so I have to think they do want to move users to IPS as soon as its engineeringly and economically feasible.
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post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I wonder, if true, if Apple's investment in the enterprise will ensure product doesn't go to Apple competitors?

It could be in there favour to invest in better display tech that competitors can use. They can get a faster return on their display tech innovations, bring down costs of their own display tech while profiting from their competitors at the same time, and even keeping the best (i.e.: most power efficient) lots* to themselves.

For example, Apples investment in Imagination for their great GPUs and HW de/encoders used in a great many, if not most, devices with an ARM CPU.


* AnandTech and others have stated that Apples deal with Intel and others allows them to get the components with the lowest power yields. Meaning, that even within the same exact component design and model number they are not exactly equal across power and performance.
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post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It could be in there favour to invest in better display tech that competitors can use. They can get a faster return on their display tech innovations, bring down costs of their own display tech while profiting from their competitors at the same time, and even keeping the best (i.e.: most power efficient) lots* to themselves.

For example, Apples investment in Imagination for their great GPUs and HW de/encoders used in a great many, if not most, devices with an ARM CPU.


* AnandTech and others have stated that Apples deal with Intel and others allows them to get the components with the lowest power yields. Meaning, that even within the same exact component design and model number they are not exactly equal across power and performance.

The last paragraph is comforting
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post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple is rumored to be investing in part of a $1 billion LCD factory that Toshiba is building mainly to supply panels for the iPhone, as the hugely successful smartphone continues to strain manufacturing capacity with its explosive growth.

T



Why the hell is Apple spending huge money to give jobs to Japanese workers? Why not build the factory in the USA?

I understand Apple using slave labor in China to keep margins high, but if they are going to build a first-world factory, why are they not doing it in the United States?

They got no excuses for this one!
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doorman. View Post

?
So that they won't have the billions in cash anymore?
You definitely do not own any Apple shares...

It is not like manufacturing in Japan is cheap!
Remember when Steve Jobs mentioned, with pride, that the G5 processor is fabricated in the USA?

I'm happy that Apple is building a data center in the US and expanding its HQ in the US as well, but some manufacturing, at least for the high end models with most margins, would be a boon to the economy and also to the pride of owning an Apple.

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post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

It is not like manufacturing in Japan is cheap!
Remember when Steve Jobs mentioned, with pride, that the G5 processor is fabricated in the USA?

I'm happy that Apple is building a data center in the US and expanding its HQ in the US as well, but some manufacturing, at least for the high end models with most margins, would be a boon to the economy and also to the pride of owning an Apple.



Exactly. Apple was able to make more money using Chinese workers for its products. They are cheap. And making money is job number one at Apple.

But Japan is just as expensive as the USA, or nearly so. Apple needs to stop selling out and do something good for their own country.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

It would be nice if Apple brought manufacturing back to the US again. With all the billions in cash, you would think that would be the right thing to do.

Only if consumers are willing to spend double or triple current prices. It's hard to know exactly how much prices would go up because we don't know what percentage of the cost is labor, but Chinese workers make about $135 a month and California's 2011 minimum wage of $8 works out to $1387 a month not including Apple's share of social security and Medicare payments and also not including any benefits, including health insurance. Actual costs would be closer to $2000 and if Apple pays above min wage, say just $10 an hour, the costs would be closer to $2500 a month per employee.

So the question becomes, are we willing to speak with our wallets in order to get American workers working? Frankly and unfortunately, I doubt it.

In a perfect world, goods would be manufactured close to the markets that they serve, so that people who support a company by purchasing their goods would also obtain the benefit of local jobs.
post #20 of 23
This is bullshit. Apple should NOT be investing in overseas production when jobs are desperately needed here.

They could easily take 1B of the 43B they have, build some factories HERE and start building HERE.

WTF, Steve?!
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtm135 View Post

This is bullshit. Apple should NOT be investing in overseas production when jobs are desperately needed here.

They could easily take 1B of the 43B they have, build some factories HERE and start building HERE.

WTF, Steve?!

How would this work? How much would that $1B take them in the US? How much would it cost to run this factory? How much more would the prices have to be jacked to support these increased costs?

I hear silly comments like theyd make up the difference in not having to ship overseas or the products would be much better made because they were made by [US] Americans. This is complete BS.

Those that wish to perpetuate this idea, great, but why not show you have a grasp of what is involved by supplying some information that supports a theory that goes against all economic theory.
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post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

Only if consumers are willing to spend double or triple current prices. It's hard to know exactly how much prices would go up because we don't know what percentage of the cost is labor, but Chinese workers make about $135 a month and California's 2011 minimum wage of $8 works out to $1387 a month not including Apple's share of social security and Medicare payments and also not including any benefits, including health insurance. Actual costs would be closer to $2000 and if Apple pays above min wage, say just $10 an hour, the costs would be closer to $2500 a month per employee.

Apple doesn't have to employ that much workers if they fully automate manufacturing. Next did it in the 80s, they can do it again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhfUKEu7sJ0

In fact that's how Japanese companies manage to manufacture efficiently in Japan. Half of the world's manufacturing robots are used in Japan. After all, according to the news Apple is investing in a manufacturing plant in Japan, which is one of the countries with the highest cost of living.

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post #23 of 23
I don't need a master's in economics theory to know that the US needs to produce more and outsource less.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

How would this work? How much would that $1B take them in the US? How much would it cost to run this factory? How much more would the prices have to be jacked to support these increased costs?

I hear silly comments like theyd make up the difference in not having to ship overseas or the products would be much better made because they were made by [US] Americans. This is complete BS.

Those that wish to perpetuate this idea, great, but why not show you have a grasp of what is involved by supplying some information that supports a theory that goes against all economic theory.
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