WSJ offers an interesting tidbit this morning, claiming that the upcoming iPhone 5 could end up in short supply as Sharp hasn’t started producing screens for next-generation iPhone. According to the sources, Sharp was expected to start shipping the new iPhone LCD panels to Apple by the end of August, but mass production was delayed because of production disruptions. It is also believed the Japanese display maker is struggling with high costs that have cut into its margins on the screens.
The source, familiar with Sharp’s production operations and schedule, did not give an indication of how far behind the output had fallen and it remains unclear when the company can actually start shipping the panels. Apple, however is also using other suppliers such as Japan Display and South Korea’s LG Display Co for displays. Both Japan Display and LG Display Co have already started shipping the screens to Apple.
The next iPhone is expected to use in-cell LCD panels, a new technology that integrates touch sensors into the LCD, eliminating the need for a separate touch-screen layer and thus making the screen much thinner. Since in-cell panels are more difficult to mass produce as compared to conventional LCD panels, this could be one of the reason that Sharp has fallen behind schedule on production of screens.
Earlier this year, Sharp also delayed shipments of screens for Apple’s latest iPad, but there were no apparent supply shortages of the iPad.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to unveil the new iPhone on September 12th in San Francisco. It is expected to have a larger, thinner screen that uses less power, boosting the handset’s battery life. Some reports claim it could give a boost of up to 40 per cent. [WSJ]