Sharp LCD plant revelation casts doubt on Apple's use of IGZO displays

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2014
Despite numerous reports that Apple is employing next-generation IGZO display panels in its iPad lineup, a weekend revelation that the iPhone maker has monopolized the output of a Sharp facility not known to produce IGZO components throws those assertions into question.

Kameyama plant No. 1 in the foreground with plant No. 2 behind and to the right | Source: Sharp
Kameyama plant No. 1 in the foreground with plant No. 2 behind and to the right | Source: Sharp


Osaka, Japan-based Sharp dedicates the entire production output of its Kameyama No. 1 LCD plant to Apple, Sharp senior executive Norikazu Hoshi told the Nikkei Asian Review last weekend. Initially brought online in 2003 to produce television panels, the facility is not believed to have been retooled for IGZO production.

Instead, IGZO manufacturing responsibilities fall to the Kameyama No. 2 plant. Given the dedication of an entire manufacturing line to Apple in the No. 1 plant -- and Hoshi's assurance that increased capacity in the No. 2 plant would atone for the natural volatility that comes with supplying Apple -- it is unlikely that the company also draws from the latter facility.

"The No. 1 plant's output goes to just one company (Apple). If you look at just this plant, it certainly presents a high level of volatility risk," Hoshi said. "But if we make LCD panels for smartphones in large quantities at the No. 2 plant, we can absorb the impact even when the No. 1 plant is not doing so well."

Apple has been rumored to be using IGZO technology -- which broadly speaking allows LCD displays to let more light pass through, reducing power usage -- for years, and was at one point said to have financed Sharp's retooling of Kameyama No. 2 with component prepayments. Instead, it is likely that the money went into retooling the No. 1 facility to produce LTPS panels, which are nearly as efficient as IGZO displays but easier to manufacture.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    If you can't tell, does it matter? Is it just another spec list checkbox item to make you feel like the iPad is awesome?
  • Reply 2 of 33
    jason98jason98 Posts: 756member

    Doesn't IGZO also allow virtually bezel-less displays?

    All these ugly iPhone6 mockups show huge bezels around the screen.

  • Reply 3 of 33
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    If you can't tell, does it matter? Is it just another spec list checkbox item to make you feel like the iPad is awesome?

    http://www.extremetech.com/electronics/126519-the-perils-and-promise-of-high-resolution-displays

     

    This article makes me think that IGZO may produce thinner and/or lighter iPads, and maybe cooler (temperature-wise) as well as possibly increasing battery life.  If it's a meaningless spec to check off, then I don't usually notice, as I suspect the majority of iPad customers also don't.  But if makes it less bulky and the battery lasts longer then customers like me that don't care much about which spec bump caused it will love the noticeable improvements that positively affect practical use.

  • Reply 4 of 33
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    There have been rumors predicting IGZO displays for Apple devices for years now!

     

    So far, they've all been dead wrong.

     

    I guess, if the rumors keep repeating themselves every single year, then eventually they might turn out to be true, just like a broken clock is sometimes correct.

  • Reply 5 of 33
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by jason98 View Post

    All these ugly iPhone6 mockups show huge bezels around the screen.


     

    All the pretty ones, too. There's a reason for bezels.

  • Reply 6 of 33
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    If you can't tell, does it matter? Is it just another spec list checkbox item to make you feel like the iPad is awesome?

     

    Love those chamfered edges.

  • Reply 7 of 33
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,902member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jason98 View Post

     

    Doesn't IGZO also allow virtually bezel-less displays?

    All these ugly iPhone6 mockups show huge bezels around the screen.


    iPhone 4/4s/5/5s with same size of bezels too. Why no one complained? You're so addicted to those bezel-less non-sense things. Bezel-less adds ZERO benefit to the phone, but increases the breakability when dropped. When did Apple change something without adding benefit to it? Bezel-less is nothing more than just the look.

  • Reply 8 of 33
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,268member

    The comment from sharp make no sense. First you have the statement that apple has 100% of the capacity at their #1 plant then make statement about #2 can pick up the volatility of plant 1. They saying Apple is so much business it needs an entire plant but Apple business is not predicable. Those two statement do not seem to go together when you look at Apple business, their business is not up and down.

  • Reply 9 of 33
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    fallenjt wrote: »
    iPhone 4/4s/5/5s with same size of bezels too. Why no one complained? You're so addicted to those bezel-less non-sense things. Bezel-less adds ZERO benefit to the phone, but increases the breakability when dropped. When did Apple change something without adding benefit to it? Bezel-less is nothing more than just the look.
    But LG has a phone with very little bezel so that's the new standard of innovation for some I guess. I don't know why anyone is surprised the new iPhone will have a top and bottom bezel similar to what we have now. Apple didn't introduce Touch ID into the home button only to use it there for one year. And no one yet has explained how Apple would compensate for removing Touch ID from the home button (and I guess removing the home button itself) to achieve a smaller bezel.
  • Reply 10 of 33
    jusephejusephe Posts: 108member
    OK I will explain.

    Let's take this chronologically.
    The LTPS display are far more efficient than amorphous silicon diaplays and they have been long in development. The first mass made phone with an LTPS display was (you guessing correctly) iPhone 4 ! It allowed for 4x the resolution and higher brightness at [B]lover[/B] power than 3GS. The problem with LTPS is that it's rather prone to manufacturing faults and it's also a lot pricier. That means it's rather hard to scale it on bigger screens. For example when you reject displays with any dead pixels (like Apple does) you will just throw out an phone screen when making phones, but when you are making tablets you have to throw out entire tablet screen. Put in another way, iPad has 3.154.728 pixels and iPhone has 727.040 pixels so it's far higher probability that you will get a dead one on the iPad than on the iPhone. That's why the first iPad with retina displays got good ol' easy to make amorphous silicon which resulted in...credibly high power consumption (~7W at max brightness). Then IGZO has came... compared to modern mature LTPS displays, it's significantly worse from power compustion standpoint (to compare we could make an 1920 by 2560 iPad Air with higher brightness at the same power as the original if we would use the two year old iPhone 5 LTPS), but it's production is far more easy to scale in volume and display size, it's just as thin as an LTPS display, and it allows potentially bezel less displays. So just one and half years later Apple was able to put IGZO into the iPad Air and iPad mini with retina display (yeah both of them are using it already), iPad mini actually hit the roof of IGZO potential as it has to have lower the color gamut to keep the power down at such incredibly high resolution. While Apple made millions of IGZO iPad's the biggest LTPS display at that time (and now still) is the 8,9 inch kindle fire HDX and at far far lower volumes than iPad. So without IGZO there would be still that big ass over 500 g iPad on sale.... As a flagship.

    So let's look into future. This article states that Apple is potentially shifting its iPad displays to LTPS which would be a huge supply chain achievement if that happens this year but don't hold your breath. When that happens maybe you would ask where the IGZO would go ? Thanks to its size scalability and efficiency the biggest candidate is the mac book which still uses The new iPad era amorphous silicon (yeah implying an retina Air and 12-hour pro) maybe even retina iMac (not running on battery but low power is low power) and even TV, which are already using IGZO. In stark contrast LTPS is just going to break the 10" barrier (albeit at full 4K resolution) and volume production is rather distant future.

    Thanks for reading !
  • Reply 11 of 33
    Half of you complain about how annoying it is to use the iPad with thin bezels, the other half worries it doesn't look cool. Haters: please come to a consensus about what's wrong with iPad's bezels before posting, thank you.
  • Reply 12 of 33
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,466member
    We did get IGZO in the iPad Air, so one prediction was fulfilled to that extent, contrary to what [B]Apple ][[/B] says above. But Soneira of DisplayMate said that the iPad mini retina was supposed to be IGZO, or so he thought, but Apple had to go with conventional IPS—I think that was what he was saying, it wasn't very clear.

    The phones are and have been expected to be LTPS, which is what Sharp's plant #1 seems to be outputting. So the only question is where the 4K Apple monitors, if any, are going to come from, and will the iPad mini eventually get an IGZO or LTPS display. [I]Nikkei[/I] says they have another plant, Sakai Display Products, they may be converting to IGZO production.

    Edit: [B]jusephe[/B] says above that the iPad mini retina got IGZO. Not according to the DisplayMate report at the time of release. He may have later information, or be repeating what others said who were confused by Raymond Soneira's terrible writing. Best reading of the DisplayMate report was that the low color gamut was caused by backlight compensation for high power draw from NOT being able to use IGZO.
  • Reply 13 of 33
    rogifan wrote: »
    But LG has a phone with very little bezel so that's the new standard of innovation for some I guess..

    Standard of innovation is to copy iPhone and make it ****-er. Replace **** with whatever measurement helps you win the forum wars. Just remember to apply a lower standard of "innovation" for the copycats, and a much higher one for Apple.
  • Reply 14 of 33
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,795member

    I really don't care if they use IGZO, OLED, LCD, or any other type of display as long as they mange to improve every release and stay competitive with displays on other phones. I have to say I am very impressed by the latest generation of OLED though. Their one weak point used to be bad visibility in outdoor light with the sun but they managed to overcome that with the newest OLED displays. No honest person that actually does a number of side by side tests with a 5s and S5 cannot say Samsung hasn't managed to best Apple with displays at least currently so I want to see Apple best the S5 with the iPhone 6. Playing videos side by side really makes it apparent.

  • Reply 15 of 33
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post



    We did get IGZO in the iPad Air, so one prediction was fulfilled to that extent, contrary to what Apple ][ says above. 

     

    Then I stand corrected of course. I had forgotten that the iPad Air uses an IGZO display.

  • Reply 16 of 33
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,513member
    Apple has a monopsony on the LCD's, not a monopoly.
  • Reply 17 of 33
    bobjohnsonbobjohnson Posts: 154member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post



    We did get IGZO in the iPad Air, so one prediction was fulfilled to that extent, contrary to what Apple ][ says above. But Soneira of DisplayMate said that the iPad mini retina was supposed to be IGZO, or so he thought, but Apple had to go with conventional IPS—I think that was what he was saying, it wasn't very clear.

     

     

    There is no evidence to suggest that this is the case. Soneira is the only one who has said that, and he postulated a bizarre scenario by which Apple is actually using two different TFT designs in the same product. He's full of shit, and the evidence against him only grows stronger with this article.

  • Reply 18 of 33
    bobjohnsonbobjohnson Posts: 154member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

     

    The comment from sharp make no sense. First you have the statement that apple has 100% of the capacity at their #1 plant then make statement about #2 can pick up the volatility of plant 1. They saying Apple is so much business it needs an entire plant but Apple business is not predicable. Those two statement do not seem to go together when you look at Apple business, their business is not up and down.


     

    It makes perfect sense. Look at Apple's past iPhone shipments ;http://www.statista.com/statistics/263401/global-apple-iphone-sales-since-3rd-quarter-2007/ - swings of 31m per quarter to 43m per quarter in the same fiscal year. That's a big deal for a manufacturer.

  • Reply 19 of 33
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post

     

    iPhone 4/4s/5/5s with same size of bezels too. Why no one complained? You're so addicted to those bezel-less non-sense things. Bezel-less adds ZERO benefit to the phone, but increases the breakability when dropped. When did Apple change something without adding benefit to it? Bezel-less is nothing more than just the look.


     

    I always wondered what type of iOS device Apple was demoing at their special events until I realized it was an iPhone with the top and bottom cut off.  It did look cool though.

     

     

    A smaller bezel makes the screen look bigger.  I'm surprised Apple didn't use this as a way to to get around the complaints of iPhone screens being too small.

  • Reply 20 of 33
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Standard of innovation is to copy iPhone and make it ****-er. Replace **** with whatever measurement helps you win the forum wars. Just remember to apply a lower standard of "innovation" for the copycats, and a much higher one for Apple.
    well no doubt if the next iPhone has similar top and bottom bezels to the current iPhone we'll get all kinds of people complaining that Apple no longer knows how to innovate and Jony Ive needs to retire because he hasn't designed anything new in 7 years. Mark my words, this meme will be all over the place. :rolleyes:
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