Apple iPhone 5 May Face Supply Problems - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Mobile // Mobile Devices
08:27 AM

Apple iPhone 5 May Face Supply Problems

Sharp Display has not been able to begin production of iPhone 5 displays because of manufacturing problems.

Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Apple uses three suppliers to provide the display for its iPhones. One of them, Sharp, has yet to commence production of the next iPhone's display. The delay may result in fewer iPhones available to consumers when the device launches.

The problem, according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal, is related to "manufacturing difficulties" of an unknown nature. Sharp had planned to begin production by the end of August, but the the Journal's sources say it is now unclear if or when Sharp will be able to start production.

The other two companies Apple uses are Japan Display Inc., and LG Display. These two suppliers have begun production of iPhone 5 displays and are supplying the components to Apple so the device can be assembled.

What we don't know is how many displays Apple is expecting to receive from each supplier. In the past, LG has been its chief display panel supplier. It's possible that LG is responsible for supplying the majority of the iPhone 5's displays, or that LG and Japan Display together cover most of the supply base.

[ Want to hear top execs from Google, Ford, P&G, General Motors, and SAP discuss enterprise innovation? Join us at the IW 500 Conference Sept. 9 to 11. ]

No matter the mix, Apple will have fewer panels than anticipated during the initial production run. This may or may not impact availability of the iPhone 5 at launch. (Earlier this year, LG faced difficulties manufacturing the new iPad's Retina display. LG's production problems didn't have any noticeable impact on the availability of the new iPad at launch.) Apple typically releases devices in the U.S. first, and then other markets over time. While the production delay may not affect the initial U.S. supply, it could delay the iPhone's launch in other markets.

The iPhone 5 is using a new type of display that includes in-cell technology. The new display tech allows Apple to eliminate a layer of material between the display and the touch panel above it by combining the two. This lets Apple build a thinner display component, which could lead to space savings within the device itself and possibly a thinner device altogether.

Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 5 on September 12, and the device is expected to go on sale as soon as September 21.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
Time to Shift Your Job Search Out of Neutral
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/31/2021
Does Identity Hinder Hybrid-Cloud and Multi-Cloud Adoption?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  4/1/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Flash Poll