Rumor: Apple's 4.8-inch iPhone 6 won't launch till June 2014 due to screen yield issues

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple plans to introduce an iPhone with a 4.8-inch display and additional processing cores to help stem market share losses to rivals like Samsung but has been unable to accelerate the launch of the product into the 2013 calendar year due to challenges in producing enough of the larger displays, one investment research firm said Wednesday.

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Mockup of iPhone with 4.94-inch screen, created by Marco Arment.


Editor's Note: It has been brought to our attention that certain specific claims of the Jefferies report are somewhat suspect, specifically regarding a March media event. AppleInsider has reached out to analyst Peter Misek, who maintains a high level of confidence regarding his hardware predictions. As with any research-based report, the information within should be taken with a grain of salt.

In a report issued to clients on Wednesday, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said Apple's product roadmap had called for a 4.8-inch iPhone to launch sometime during the 2014 calendar year but added that the company recently made an unsuccessful attempt to bump up its launch into the back half of 2013 amid increased competition and lost market share to rival Samsung.
We believe a summer CY14 launch was originally planned, but Apple tried to accelerate it to stem its market share losses. The earliest Apple could have launched a 4.8? phone would have been this fall (with a target of Oct); however, our checks indicate that Apple?s suppliers are running into difficulties trying to scale the screen size from 4? to 4.8?.
More specifically, Misek said scaling the in-cell screens from 4" to 4.8" has resulted in poor yields -- meaning a significant number of display components from each batch being manufactured are not passing the company's quality assurance tests. As such, Apple is unlikely to be able to manufacture enough of the larger 4.8" displays to facilitate a full-blown launch of the handset until next spring.

"We believe Tim Cook defended the 4? screen of the iPhone 5 on the last earnings call in order to avoid freezing iPhone shipments in the quarters before a 4.8? launch," the analyst told his clients.

But poor yields of the larger display components may not be the only bottleneck Apple faces in pushing out the so-called iPhone 6. Misek believes Apple will jump from a 32-nanometer production process to a 20-nanometer process in a bid to add more processing cores (4 to 8), completely forgoing a move to a 28-nanometer process.
"While TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is targeting a 2014 ramp in its 20nm production we think that issues like double patterning could make it a more complicated transition than the 28nm ramp, which had its own substantial ramp and yield issues.
Additionally, Misek said Apple's current difficulty in ramping the in-cell displays at 4.8-inches may be forcing the company to look at switching to on-cell displays (which include a different integrated touchscreen technology), IGZO displays, and even OLED displays. The latter consideration, the analyst noted, would come despite Apple?s suppliers being well behind Samsung in their OLED capabilities.

Misek's notion of using OLED displays would seem to run counter to recent developments. On Tuesday, speaking at Goldman Sachs' Internet and Technology Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook panned the image quality of OLEDs.

"If you ever buy anything online," Cook explained, "and really want to know what the color is, as many people do, you should think twice before you depend on the color from an OLED display."

On Friday, news emerged that Apple had hired away an OLED expert from South Korean manufacturer LG. Despite Cook's negative take on the current state of OLEDs, the technology does allow for thinner designs and better battery life.

Cook's comments came in the context of a larger defense of the current size of the iPhone's display. At four inches diagonal, the iPhone 5's display is smaller than much of its competition. Cook, though, said some observers' focus on screen size was akin to the spec races of the PC and digital camera industries.

Even as he spoke on screen size, Cook was less adamant in defending the iPhone 5's display size than he has been in the past. Twice in his response he said he "[wasn't] going to talk about what we're going to do in the future," leading some to believe the company may bend to market pressures and release a larger-screened device.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    But you know how Apple is... it demands top notch quality that is durable.

    Unlike its competitors.
  • Reply 2 of 67
    geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,131member


    I'll believe it when i see it.....that would be one large iPhone....

  • Reply 3 of 67
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    And so it goes......

    Someone starts ridiculous rumors, and then they start with excuses why they're really right, but we won't see that product for some time. So if there's no 5" iPhone this summer, it's not because the rumor was silly, but it's due to supplier issues.
  • Reply 4 of 67

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


     However, our checks indicate that Apple's suppliers are running into difficulties trying to scale the screen size from 4 to 4.8.


     


    You're scaling it wrong. Try scaling it the other way, from 9.7 down to 4.8.  Actually, 4.85


     


    I'm being sarcastic but actually, the math is correct.

  • Reply 5 of 67

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by netrox View Post



    But you know how Apple is... it demands top notch quality that is durable.



    Unlike its competitors.


     


     


    top notch quality?  Did you even read the article? There are already quality control issues with larger displays according to Jeffrey's report. 


     


    Also, doesn't Samsung control something like 95+% of the AMOLED market?

  • Reply 6 of 67
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,510member
    I didn't make the comparison to see if it's possible, but I'd buy it only if it kept the same size as the current iPhone 5. Bigger is too much for me.
  • Reply 7 of 67


    Dis-information campaign in full swing now ...

  • Reply 8 of 67
    allenbf wrote: »
    You're scaling it wrong. Try scaling it the other way, from 9.7 down to 4.8.  Actually, 4.85

    I'm being sarcastic but actually, the math is correct.

    I get 4.9404" for the same 263.92 PPI on the iPad, assuming it's exactly 9.7".
  • Reply 9 of 67


    Too late

  • Reply 10 of 67


    This analyst has a spotty record. I think the article title is misleading. It makes it seem like a fact when this is simply speculation.

  • Reply 11 of 67


    There's no need for Apple to hurry, and risk repeating its implementation missteps with the iMac and iPhone 5. Cook should take his time.


     


    I am not worried about Apple competing in that segment. Just throw the rumors out there. If anything, I'll bet it'll freeze the market for the fugly S3s.

  • Reply 12 of 67

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post


     


     


    top notch quality?  Did you even read the article? There are already quality control issues with larger displays according to Jeffrey's report. 


     


    Also, doesn't Samsung control something like 95+% of the AMOLED market?



     


    All of that is completely irrelevant, especially the reference to AMOLED displays.


     


    But, yes, as others have mentioned, this is just a "crap, we blew our guess" report. They realized it's definitely not happening, so now they are projecting it further out, and blaming it on Apple, to avoid looking like the complete idiots they are, for now.

  • Reply 13 of 67

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post




    ... and even OLED displays. The latter consideration, the analyst noted, would come despite Apple?s suppliers being well behind Samsung in their OLED capabilities.



     


    Did this guy even listen to Cook yesterday, OLED displays aren't happening any time in the near future.

  • Reply 14 of 67


    The iPhone 6 wont release in 2013 because there is an iPhone 5S to release this year.

    Just saying. Analyst troll.

  • Reply 15 of 67


    Hey, guys! How's that iPhone mini treating us all?


     


    Oh. RIGHT.





    Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

    Too late


     


    Too early. But so is every year.

  • Reply 16 of 67


    This rumor has to be crap. Sharp and LG are already making 440ppi LCD3 screens at 5in, Sony's making 343ppi at 4.3in, others are doing things in-between...I hardly suspect there's 'yield' problems. 

  • Reply 17 of 67
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,227member


    Vaporware product running into yield issues...   I will assume Apple is testing multiple screen sizes and screen tech, if one screen has problem maybe they can try another or, god forbid they solve the problem and improve the yield. If Wong ton soup inc. can make 5" phones, why cant Apple?


     


    I hope Apple will not use OLED, that would mean IGZO has some sort of major problem keeping it from being used. IGZO is a lot more "retina" friendly.

  • Reply 18 of 67
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I get 4.9404" for the same 263.92 PPI on the iPad, assuming it's exactly 9.7".

    U think apple sould leak a rumor that a larger phone will be out this year... If in fact it was? Or misslead to surprise and maintain sales till it is announced?
  • Reply 19 of 67
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,227member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by spacerays View Post


    The iPhone 6 wont release in 2013 because there is an iPhone 5S to release this year.

    Just saying. Analyst troll.



     


    Apple need to do a lot more than just doing a 5s in OCT.  I mean for the stock, because as a company Apple will still be here even if they shrink and lose market shares by the truck load.  My 4s contract expires in OCT, would love to stay with Apple but aint gonna happen if the only model they have is the 5s.

  • Reply 20 of 67
    anonymouse wrote: »
    Did this guy even listen to Cook yesterday, OLED displays aren't happening any time in the near future.
    I dont agree.. Apple is not substituting i5... It is expanding the line to offer more selection and compete in the larger screen area. I think that has to happen this year.
    And i think this report is misinformation. ...
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