Apple sources panels from LG.Display and Samsung SMD for their iProducts. According to reports Apple wants Sharp onboard for display development and production in a goal to make Sharp a supplier of screens for iPhone 5, iPad 3 and possibly the coming Apple HDTV.
Apple and Sharp
Sharp is currently the world's largest producer of small-to-medium-size LCD panels and if Apple jumps aboard as a primary customer, Sharp could grow even larger. Analyst Peter Misek of Jefferies says that Apple has asked Sharp to produce displays for future products. Back in December 2010 it was reported that Apple and Sharp discussed a deal.
Sharp will produce screen for the next iPads and iPhones
The analyst claims to know that Sharp will produce displays for the coming iPad 3, iPhone 5 and possibly Appleâ€™s coming HDTV. He says that Apple has invested between 500 million and 1 billion U.S. dollars in production equipment at one of Sharp's sixth generation LCD plants. A 6G plant is optimized for displays in handheld devices.
Last week it was reported that Sharp has produced and shipped high-res LCD panels for iPad 3. Apple and Sharp will use a so-called IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc) production method that allow them to produce high-resolution LCD panels that are slimmer and more energy efficient than current panels.
Peter Misek also says that his industry checks indicate that Apple and Sharp will develop and mass produce OLED displays for future Apple iPhones and iPads. They will use an inkjet printing production method combined with a daisy wheel. Dupont is already using inkjet technology for OLED panel production.
The analyst believes that Apple is unlikely to launch an OLED-TV until 2015, but he thinks that a LCD-TV from Apple could ship as early as the summer of 2012.
Sharps 10G LCD plant in Sakai, Japan
To produce panels for the Apple HDTV, Sharp and Apple plan to utilize Sharpâ€™s 10G Sakai plant, according to a report. The Sakai 10G plant is the worldâ€™s largest LCD factory, and Sharp is already mass-producing 80-inch LCD-TV with low production costs.
Peter Misek concludes by saying that other TV manufacturers are â€śscramblingâ€ť to find out what Apple is up to. Sonyâ€™s CEO recently said that he is sure that Appleâ€™s HDTV is coming.