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Supply crunch for displays could hit initial shipments


Dubai Apple could face problems meeting rising demand for new iPad models due to a shortage of high resolution displays, an industry expert has claimed.

“Apple is said to be examining a new LCD display technology from Sharp that uses indium, gallium, zinc and oxide thin-film transistors (IGZO TFT). Unfortunately, Sharp is experiencing manufacturing problems that could affect the availability for a full rollout,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, senior manager for small and medium displays at IHS iSuppli, a research firm.

Apple has chosen Sharp to replace Chimei Innolux (CMI) as one of its three suppliers for the QXGA panels in addition to LG and Samsung.

She said both Sharp and LG are not ready to supply QXGA panels, it is probably Samsung that will supply the panels initially. The shortage may be felt till the second quarter when Sharp and LG will be ready for mass production.

“Apple is likely to incur a significant price premium for using the higher-resolution display. However, manufacturers are expected to grant discounts, especially because Apple has made investments in LG, Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display,” she said.

“By investing in its partners, Apple not only can mitigate these costs to a degree, but it also can be assured of the availability and quality of the displays.”

According to industry sources, Samsung outperformed LG to become the top supplier of 9.7-inch flat panels for iPads in January with shipments totalling 2.45 million, up from 1.65 million shipped in December.

LG saw its shipments of 9.7-inch iPad panels decline from over 2.1 million in December to 1.7 million in February, while shipments of 9.7-inch panels from CMI also dropped from 500,000 to 350,000 during the same period.

Shipments of 9.7-inch iPad panels totalled 48 million in 2011 and are expected to top 65 million this year, including 25 million for iPad 2 and 40 million for iPad 3.

Shipments of 9.7-inch iPad panels totalled 48 million last year and are expected to top 65 million this year, including 25 million for iPad 2 and 40 million for iPad 3.

On the other hand, demand for touch panels for iPads is expected to reach 16-17 million in the first quarter of this year, including 7.5-8 million for iPad 2 and 8.5-9 million for iPad 3.

Jakhanwal said IHS forecasts 131 million tablets to be sold this year, of which 75 million will be iPads. Apple is projected to spend an estimated $9 billion on display panels used in iPads and iPhones, up 91 per cent from $4.7 billion in 2011. Apple spent $2 billion in 2010.

Outlook: More new versions

Apple is planning further versions of its iPhone and iPad products before the end of 2012, according to Vinita Jakhanwal, senior manager for small and medium displays at IHS iSuppli.

“The new 7.85-inch iPad will have 160 pixels per inch and regular IPS-LCD panel and at a cheaper price compared to other iPads,” Vinita Jakhanwal, senior manager for small and medium displays at IHS iSuppli, told Gulf News.

She added that a new iPhone with a display size of 4-inches is likely to be introduced by August. According to industry sources in the supply chain, makers have started delivering samples of new iPads for verification, with volume production likely to begin in the third quarter at the earliest.

The planned launch of the 7.85-inch iPad is apparently to take on Amazon’s $199 7-inch Kindle Fire as well as planned launch Windows 8 tablets..

The price of the 7.85-inch iPad is likely to be set at $249-$299, since Apple is also expected to release an 8GB iPad 2 for $349-$399, the sources said.

As for the iPhone, the new 4G LTE phone is expected to have 320 pixels per inch resolution enabled by an XGA (1024 by 768) pixel format, while continuing to utilise the same low-temperature polysilicon liquid crystal display technology now employed by current models.

By: Naushad K. Cherrayil

iPhone 5 to Possibly Have Sharp IGZO 4¨ Display


IGZO Graphic

Rumors are swirling around the net about what Apple is going to do about the new display for its iPhone 5. We know that it is going to be an IGZO (Indium, Gallium, Zinc , Oxygen) display. We also know that it will be 4 inches. What I do not know for sure is the manufacturer of the display. Some speculate Sony and Hitachi others say Sharp. From what I have been following it looks like it will be Sharp. Whoever makes the display the faithful are bound to be thrilled. These panels are also bound to be used in the next Apple iPad

According to Shuji Sako of Sharp, ¨The IGZO LCD panel´s performance outclasses anything attainable with conventional amorphous-silicon TFT panels.¨ IGZO transistors have mobility of its electrons up to 40 times higher than amorphous-silicon thin-film transistors. The IGZO transistors can also be made smaller and have the same performance. This helps the display save 30% in energy consumption and higher resolution over the traditional amorphous-silicon TFT panels. The display is said to perform at 330 dpi. The IGZO display would also enable the iPhone 5 to be thinner.

The demand for small and mid-size LCD panels is growing rapidly putting strains on the supply chain. What many tech blogs fail to say is that this amazing growth also puts strains on the natural resource supply chains. The technology needs Indium, Gallium and Zinc. Two of these metals have been deemed to be at Critical Levels according to the British Geological Survey and the US Geological Survey. Over 95% of these rare industrial or technical metals are supplied by China. Even if the prices of the metals go up 100% the end user will see a very small price increase because such a small amount of the metals are used in each device.

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

Swiss Metal Assets appears on Deutsche Welle Television Show