WSJ: Apple investing in Sharp plant for iPad 3 displays

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Sharp is said to be ramping up production of LCD panels for the next-generation iPad after an investment from Apple for its manufacturing facilities, according to a new report.



Sources told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that Sharp will produce the panels at its Kameyama No. 2 plant in central Japan. According to one person familiar with the matter, Apple has invested an unspecified amount in Sharp's factories.



Sharp already provides screens for the iPhone and is expected to also serve as a supplier for the next iPhone. Both the third-generation iPad and the sixth-generation iPhone are expected to launch next year, the tipster said. Japanese newspapers reported in April that Apple will tap Sharp for next-generation "low-temperature poly-silicon" technology to go into the next iPhone.



The report appears to corroborate comments from an analyst earlier this week. Peter Misek with Jeffries claimed recently that Sharp will provide IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc) LCD panels for the next iPhone and iPad. IGZO panels would allow for thinner designs and improved battery performance.



"The IGZO technology is perfect in that it offers near-OLED power consumption while having a lower cost and thinness that is only 25% greater than OLED, based on our checks," Misek wrote.







Adding Apple's iPad orders is seen as a big win for Sharp because the device's market dominance should provide steady volume for the manufacturer.



"This would allow Sharp to count on a more stable sales volume and would help its technology gain more attention," Mizuho Investors Securities analyst Nobuo Kurahashi told the Journal.



Late last year, rumors emerged that Apple was looking to invest a "large portion" of a $1.2 billion LCD manufacturing facility that Sharp was building. Reports of the investment surfaced again this summer, though some have suggested that Apple simply made an advance payment rather than investing in the plant..



Samsung and LG Display are widely believed to be the current suppliers of iPad LCD screens. Some industry watchers believe that Apple's growing legal battle with Samsung may have prompted Apple to diversify its suppliers. LG has also reportedly suffered quality issues with its iPad panels that may have contributed to limited supply of the iPad 2 earlier this year.



Apple admitted this April during a quarterly earnings conference call that it faced the "mother of all backlogs" with the iPad 2. The second-generation tablet remained in short supply for months after its March launch.



One recent report claimed Samsung, LG Display and Sharp have already begun stockpiling LCD panels for the third-generation iPad in preparation for assembly early next year. The three suppliers are said to have built a total of three million panels in October and November.



The iPad 3 is widely believed to feature a high-definition display with double the resolution of the previous generation. However, the near-Retina Display quality of the alleged 2,048 x 1,536 pixel screen has introduced several technical issues into the mix. For instance, Apple is rumored to be evaluating whether to add a second LED light bar to handle the upgraded display. Suppliers have also reportedly faced challenges with mass production of the screens.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    The iPad 3 is going to be sick!



    In the meantime, I'm more than happy with using the iPad 2. That thing rules.



    Apple has quite a challenge though. I think that it's going to be tough to have 4x as many pixels and still up the ante when it comes to performance (CPU and GPU), thinness and battery life. If anybody can do it, Apple can!
  • Reply 2 of 50
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    The iPad 3 is going to be sick!



    In the meantime, I'm more than happy with using the iPad 2. That thing rules.:



    Does anyone even have a feasible iPad 2 competitor coming to market? Tegra 3 looks to make some advances over Apple's A5 and ICS is looking like the first version of Android that's not an inconsistent, non-beta mobile OS, but I don't think Tegra 3 GPUs even matches the iPad 2 so matching an iPad 3 with a Retina Display (265ppi) seems impossible for 2012. Maybe some PenTile sub-pizel fibbing, but it seems like IPS LCDs are going to be the most common for tablets for at least another year.





    Quote:

    Apple has quite a challenge though. I think that it's going to be tough to have 4x as many pixels and still up the ante when it comes to performance (CPU and GPU), thinness and battery life. If anybody can do it, Apple can!



    I'm still skeptical here, but I was skeptical about the iPhone 4 jumping to 960x640 even though the iPad using the same base HW already pushed 1024x768.
  • Reply 3 of 50
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Oh, and one more thing.



    Can you imagine the disappointment if the next iPad is not going to have that resolution? This rumor has been talked about and repeated so many damn times now that people are going to be whining left and right if it doesn't turn out to be true. The hype has been built up so much now, that

    it will be a huge let down if it doesn't happen.



    I don't really care too much, because like I mentioned, I'm still happy with the iPad 2, but I'm going to laugh my ass off if the insane resolution screen doesn't happen. That'll teach people not to put too much faith in rumors.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Oh, and one more thing.



    Can you imagine the disappointment if the next iPad is not going to have that resolution? This rumor has been talked about and repeated so many damn times now that people are going to be whining left and right if it doesn't turn out to be true. The hype has been built up so much now, that

    it will be a huge let down if it doesn't happen.



    I don't really care too much, because like I mentioned, I'm still happy with the iPad 2, but I'm going to laugh my ass off if the insane resolution screen doesn't happen. That'll teach people not to put too much faith in rumors.



    No rumour has a realistic expectation of authenticity. Even if Apple has had 1 million HiDPI iPad 3 displays shipped to them already, if the competition isn't anywhere close the quality of each display, and/or backlight, and/or overall performance is too low for production then they could make the switch at the last minute. I seem to recall the original iPhone switched from plastic to glass very close to it's ship date.
  • Reply 5 of 50
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Does anyone even have a feasible iPad 2 competitor coming to market?



    You're probably asking the wrong person that question. But the answer is of course no.



    We already know that it doesn't matter if some Android device has better specs on paper, the overall usability is still worse. And they will never be able to match all of the quality apps that are available for the iPad. It's not just the hardware that matters of course, the biggest disadvantage that Android has is Android itself if you ask me.



    How many "iPad killers" have already been released and have utterly and pathetically failed so far?



    The next person to even mention the word "iPad killer" needs to be slapped in the face. It's like the boy who cried wolf. Nobody pays any attention to these lunatics anymore, when they've already been proven wrong so many times.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "The IGZO technology is perfect in that it offers near-OLED power consumption while having a lower cost and thinness that is only 25% greater than OLED, based on our checks," Misek wrote.








    So does that say that IZGO panels use more power and are thicker?



    Oh well. They are also cheaper.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    I don't really care too much, because like I mentioned, I'm still happy with the iPad 2, but I'm going to laugh my ass off if the insane resolution screen doesn't happen. That'll teach people not to put too much faith in rumors.



    I think the high resolution will be a very important component of the success of the iPad 3. Super resolution is one of those things that people don't realize how much they will enjoy or how hard it is to actually do. The hard part is getting software developers to use the resolution. Apple solves this problem by doubling the resolution rather than incremental increases.



    High resolution will certainly be an important factor for locking up the Chinese market. Have you ever displayed Chinese characters on an iPhone? It is no wonder the Chinese like the device so much. People who read books will certainly get hooked on high resolution. If Apple does make a 7 inch device, I'm sure it will have the same pixel count as the iPad 2. The photography market will love increased resolution. Professionals that use imaging software will use it. I can't think of a more important feature to expand sales and lock up the tablet market than a high resolution iPad.



    Apple has the opportunity to crush the competition with a super resolution screen. Other tablet companies can't do it because of the incompatibility with screen sizes. If they try and go half way, it won't work. This is a key opportunity for Apple.



    I also think that the graphics enhancements in the A5 processor were a harbinger of what is coming. Apple is pushing graphics capabilities. The most expensive and important part of a tablet is its screen. It wouldn't surprise me if Apple has negotiated a very favorable deal with Sharp that is going to crush the competition when it comes to matching Apple's performance. It is so obvious what Apple is doing here, I don't think we need to hope too much about the screen resolution. It is going to happen. I think it will happen with iPad3 as long as production isn't an issue.
  • Reply 8 of 50
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    So does that say that IZGO panels use more power and are thicker?



    Oh well. They are also cheaper.



    Duh...of course LED is thicker and uses more power than OLED. No need to be upset. Current OLED technology sucks. You can't see anything in direct sunlight. If the brightness is turned up, the OLED polymers get bleached out. OLED may be a reality someday, but for now it sucks. The new IZGO panels will be exciting because they will reduce power consumption and thickness with improved performance.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ash471 View Post


    I can't think of a more important feature to expand sales and lock up the tablet market than a high resolution iPad.



    I agree that the super resolution screen is definitely useful and it will be a huge improvement when doing many things, if they can pull it off.



    I do read some books on the iPad 2 and that is one area where a super resolution screen will make a big difference.



    I don't think that gaming is that important. I have a few 1920x1080 monitors at home and when I play a game, I don't choose that resolution, because I'd rather have more FPS and choose a slightly lower resolution, than have more pixels but lower FPS.



    But for things like reading books, reading text on web pages, viewing photos and some other tasks, it will definitely make a big difference.
  • Reply 10 of 50
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    So does that say that IZGO panels use more power and are thicker?



    Oh well. They are also cheaper.



    There are going to be a lot of butthurt Fandroids when the iPad 3 comes out.
  • Reply 11 of 50
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    You're probably asking the wrong person that question. But the answer is of course no.



    We already know that it doesn't matter if some Android device has better specs on paper, the overall usability is still worse. And they will never be able to match all of the quality apps that are available for the iPad. It's not just the hardware that matters of course, the biggest disadvantage that Android has is Android itself if you ask me.



    How many "iPad killers" have already been released and have utterly and pathetically failed so far?



    The next person to even mention the word "iPad killer" needs to be slapped in the face. It's like the boy who cried wolf. Nobody pays any attention to these lunatics anymore, when they've already been proven wrong so many times.



    I think Amazon Fire has the best shot. Amazon has two things going for it: (i) price and (ii) content. Consumers respond very well to price. $300 is so much cheaper it will absolutely have an impact on the ability to compete. It doesn't matter that the device is inferior, there is a huge percentage of the market that will find it to be good enough or that just simply can't afford the more expensive device.



    The second item, content, is also critical. Content is probably the single biggest detrimental feature to previous "iPad killers." It doesn't do any good to have a media device if you don't have media to play. Tablets need music, books, and movies, not just Apps. Amazon has this media content and they will be able to satisfy customers who will actually use and buy that content.



    As an Apple shareholder, I expect Apple to have an answer for the Amazon Fire. Apple better be busting out a 7 inch device that can compete on price. It doesn't have to be $200, but it needs to be within $100 or Apple is going to lose a large segment of the market. Over time, that low end of the market will eat away at the premium end and Apple will be left with nothing. They have to respond to this threat. Let's hope Apple can hit the sub $250 price point. If they do, I think they curtail the Amazon Fire threat.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    ksecksec Posts: 1,545member
    I think the Panel that Samsung and LG stacking up are for a cheaper Model, or same price range as current iPad with better performance. the new iPad 3 will properly have a new price range.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ash471 View Post


    I think Amazon Fire has the best shot. Amazon has two things going for it: (i) price and (ii) content. Consumers respond very well to price. $300 is so much cheaper it will absolutely have an impact on the ability to compete. It doesn't matter that the device is inferior, there is a huge percentage of the market that will find it to be good enough or that just simply can't afford the more expensive device.



    The second item, content, is also critical. Content is probably the single biggest detrimental feature to previous "iPad killers." It doesn't do any good to have a media device if you don't have media to play. Tablets need music, books, and movies, not just Apps. Amazon has this media content and they will be able to satisfy customers who will actually use and buy that content.



    As an Apple shareholder, I expect Apple to have an answer for the Amazon Fire. Apple better be busting out a 7 inch device that can compete on price. It doesn't have to be $200, but it needs to be within $100 or Apple is going to lose a large segment of the market. Over time, that low end of the market will eat away at the premium end and Apple will be left with nothing. They have to respond to this threat. Let's hope Apple can hit the sub $250 price point. If they do, I think they curtail the Amazon Fire threat.



    The fire is no threat. Steve clearly stated they will not go that direction.



    I see the fire getting canned and a revision coming soon. But who knows they don't make any money off them anyway.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Flash_beezy View Post


    The fire is no threat. Steve clearly stated they will not go that direction.



    I see the fire getting canned and a revision coming soon. But who knows they don't make any money off them anyway.



    I don't see it as a threat to the iPad ? in fact I think it will help it in the long run ? but it is a threat all other non-iPad tablets trying to carve out a niche, especially proper Android OS-based tablets.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    Quote:

    Sources told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday



    Sources ain't what they used to be. Neither is the Wall Street Tabloid.



    Quote:

    iPad 3



    Which is a made-up name christened by the blogosphere. Please use 'next iPad'



    Quote:

    the so-called iPhone 6



    iPhone WHAT???. I don't even understand what that's supposed to refer to \



    This is exactly the kind of rumor juicing that got everyone's panties all twisted in a bunch when Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S. Have we learned nothing from that??? The Wall Street Journal's just echoing the SAME unverified rumors that we heard earlier about Sharp.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Which is a made-up name christened by the blogosphere. Please use 'next iPad'



    iPhone WHAT???. I don't even understand what that's supposed to refer to \



    it's easier than writing third-generation iPad or sixth-generation iPhone every time yet still conveys the same message. My only issue is seeing iPhone 5 stated to mean the 6th gen iPhone.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Which is a made-up name christened by the blogosphere. Please use 'next iPad'



    iPad..........iPad 2.............it's only natural and common sense that people will call the next one in line the iPad 3 when referring to it.



    Now, is there a chance that Apple may decide to call it something else? Sure, that's possible. It's also quite possible that it will simply be called the iPad 3.



    To be honest, I don't care what Apple calls it when it gets released. I don't think there's any problem with referring to it as iPad 3 right now. That doesn't mean that people who use that term are saying that that is the final name that Apple will choose. I'm certainly not claiming that.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    it's easier than writing third-generation iPad or sixth-generation iPhone every time yet still conveys the same message. My only issue is seeing iPhone 5 stated to mean the 6th gen iPhone.



    Next iPad. Next iPhone.

    Unambiguous and succinct, no?
  • Reply 19 of 50
    according to the Jobs bio, they also tooled a factory in China to make the glass panels for the NYC store, and I assume that factory also has the contract for the glass to be used in the new HQ. huge panels, none of them flat, all glass exterior.



    with all that cash in the bank it makes a hell of a lot of sense to "reinvest" in manufacturing. exclusive contract for all output (and deny other companies at the same time)



    did Apple buy all the CNC machines available to cut the MBA/ipad chassis? I read other companies can't make their own in volume because someone cornered the market.



    genius. the benefits (low price and temporary exclusivity) of owning your own (parts) factories w/o the overhead (facilities, labor, insurance, etc)
  • Reply 20 of 50
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    If I had to compare Sharp and LG. I honestly have seen LG failures more often compared to Sharp Products.



    Does any one remember the post here a while back where Apple had decided to switch from LG to another manufacturer for their LCD screens because of quality issues? Although LG is one of the largest producers of LCD screens, the screens are going into the cheap LCD TV models like Coby and RCA.



    Sharp on the other hand is not like Korean based LG. Sharp makes great TV's and LCD screens. I have yet to work on a Sharp LCD TV. I have worked on LG based TV's and on the most part the LCD panels failed. Bad news for the customer. I had to tell them that their so called nice LG TV was not worth fixing because the LCD panel was bad.
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