Plans to invest in a Sharp production facility have been reportedly dropped by Apple, with the company choosing instead to use Toshiba as the sole supplier of liquid crystal displays used in the iPhone.
A report in Japanese newspaper Nikkan Kogyu Shimbun claims that “Sharp was no longer a candidate for Apple’s investment,” and that the company wishes to avoid placing full dependancy on one country for the production of iPhone LCDs. It is believed the Tohoku area earthquake – which could have effected component production – may have persuaded Apple to think twice about its investment in two suppliers located in Japan.
Sharp has since issued a public statement denying the rumors, insisting that the report “contradicts the facts,” and requesting the paper retracts its report. If the rumors are true, however, it would be a substantial loss to Sharp.
Sharp has already developed an LCD that matches the 640×960 resolution – as well as the dimensions – of the iPhone 4’s Retina display, which it announced last year for Android smartphones.
Apple publicly announced it was planning to make a new long-term investment in components, similar to the one it made in flash memory in 2005, though the company wouldn’t specify which components it was going to focus on.
Recent speculation suggested that the supply of LCDs has been the bottleneck behind the limited launch supply of the first- and second-generation iPads – and that Apple’s investment would go into LCD suppliers.