Apple is willing to fork out billions to its suppliers to ensure high quality iPhone displays. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac
Apple may be about to invest $1.7 billion in a new factory for Japan Display, primarily dedicated to building smartphone screens for Cupertino.
The proposed plant would be located in Ishikawa, Japan, and is set to start operations in 2016. While it will reportedly also produce panels for other companies, its main purpose (hence the Apple investment) would be to produce iPhone displays.
Apple is set to deal Samsung yet another blow by snubbing its displays for all future iOS devices. According to a new report from the Korea Economic Daily, the Cupertino company will purchase panels from Sharp, LG Display, Japan Display, and AU Optronics instead.
Apple’s share price has plummeted this morning, following an earlier report that said the Cupertino company had cut iPhone 5 component orders due to weaker-than-expected demand. When the market opening on Monday morning, Apple stock dropped to $16.23, or 3.1%, to $504.07.
Manufacturers simply cannot produce the iPhone 5’s new display fast enough.
It seemed like Apple was coping well with the iPhone 5 demand, despite it being the company’s fastest-selling iPhone to date. Sure, pre-orders sold out within the first hour of availability, but those who were told they wouldn’t get their new smartphone until October have already begun receiving shipping notifications.
But iPhone 5 production may have hit a stumbling black. The handset’s new 4-inch display, which boasts in-cell touch technology that allows it to be incredible thin, it reportedly causing “significant production constraints” that mean Apple cannot produce the device fast enough.
The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S’s Retina Displays are already ludicrously pixel packed at 326 ppi, but even so, that’s only enough pixels to make it so that the human eye can’t resolve them when the phone is held twelve inches away from your face.
Apple can do better, and maybe someday they will, thanks to Japan Display’s new technology which squeeze 651 pixels per inch into an LCD screen. Their latest display has a resolution of 1280 x 800, the same as the existing 13-inch MacBook Pro, but is only 2.3 inches across.
That’s just one ppi from a true pixel doubling, which Apple has done for iOS devices to maintain backwards compatibility amongst apps and UI elements. If Apple picked this technology up, they’d finally have a display that was “retina” in the truest sense of the term… albeit, at four times the impact on the GPU.
While Apple chose to stick with the same 3.5-inch display for the iPhone 4S that it had previously employed in older iPhones, the Cupertino company looks certain to increase that for its iPhone 5. According to a source in Apple’s supply chain, both Hitachi and Sony have already begun shipping 4-inch LCD panels for a “new iOS device,” believed to be the sixth-generation iPhone.