Sharp has this morning announced a ¥10.4 billion ($112 million) investment from Samsung that will provide the latter with a 3% stake in the company. It makes Samsung the biggest individual shareholder in the Japanese display maker, and secures its access to Sharp’s LCD panel supplies.
The investment comes at a time when Sharp has been struggling. The company received a $4.4 billion bailout from the banks in October 2012, and its iPad display orders from Apple were recently cut as consumer demand shifted to the smaller iPad mini, which Sharp is not involved with.
Apple stock took a battering this week when it was reported that the iPhone 5 wasn’t selling as well as the Cupertino company had expected it to, and it appears analysts aren’t going to let it recover just yet. JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz is now reporting that iPad sales won’t meet expectations due to supply constraints during the fourth quarter of 2012.
As you may have noticed, Apple announced the iPad mini today. Soon after, of course, came the analyst perspective – if there’s a strong demand for the iPad mini device, we may see serious supply issues. This has been rumored already in regards to the aluminum back for the new iPad mini, but this is the first report that a shortage of display units may also have a role to play.
“We’re now starting to see the issues that [Apple] is having with Samsung,” said Richard Shim, an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch, in an interview with CNET.
Samsung is not supplying displays for iPad mini, according to the analyst, which leaves only two suppliers to make the smaller iPad mini for Apple.
The iPhone 5’s intricate design is leading to supply shortages.
When Apple began selling the iPhone 5 on September 21, it quickly became the fastest-selling iPhone to date, with five million units sold in the first three days. However, sales have started to slow down since then, and they’ve begun falling short of analyst expectations.
It’s not that customers aren’t buying it, or that the iPhone 5 isn’t successful. The reason it’s not meeting expectations is because Apple’s manufacturing partner, Foxconn, simply can’t make it fast enough. Its design is so complicated that it’s the most difficult device Foxconn has ever built.
Rumors that Apple’s third-generation will launch early next year have been strengthened by claims from “industry sources” today, who say the Cupertino company has moved to control supplies of its iPad 2 in a bid to reduce excess inventory. It will reportedly reduce the number of displays manufactured by the likes of Samsung, LG Display, and Chimei Innolux during the fourth quarter of 2011, which could lead to a reduction in iPad shipments.
Image used under Creative Commons license, from Flickr user: hddod
Sources in Apple’s supply chain have revealed that Foxconn Electronics is currently facing supply and labor shortages that could delay shipments of both the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 during the second quarter.
Shipment delays to the iPad during the last quarter were reportedly due to light leakage issues with displays produced by LG, according to a DigiTimesreport. Apple’s other supply partners were forced to increase their shipments this quarter to rectify the shortage.
During the first quarter, Samsung supplied a total of 4 million 9.7-inch iPad panels, outpacing its rival, LG, who only shipped 3.2 million. It is believed, however, that now LG’s light leakage issues have been resolved, it will increase its supply of displays during the second quarter.
A one month delay to the launch of RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook may have been down to Apple’s high demand for touch panels for its iPad 2. The 7-inch PlayBook is set to launch on April 19th at $499, but shipments were postponed for about a month because RIM couldn’t get its hands on enough touch panels.
Citing sources from touch screen manufacturers, a DigiTimesreport says the PlayBook setback was “due to a delay in software testing as well as shortage of touch panels because Apple already booked up most of the available capacity.”
Thanks to Apple’s abundance of cash reserves, the Cupertino company can pre-pay for components and get guaranteed priority from manufacturers. This means that RIM’s PlayBook – a tablet which aims to rival the iPad – won’t launch now until at least a month after the iPad 2 began shipping. It was originally scheduled for release during the first quarter of this year.