Likely pick to build Apple iPhone’s touch screen: Balda

Apple Store“Last year wasn’t exactly auspicious for German mobile-phone components maker Balda,” Jack Ewing and Arik Hesseldahl report for BusinessWeek. “The company issued two profit warnings, shed 70% of its 2,400 German workers, and ended the year with a loss equal to 13% of sales. So why would a heavy hitter such as Apple Inc. hand Balda a contract to make the touch screens that are the most important design element of the much-anticipated iPhone?”

“Although neither Balda nor Apple has actually said the German company is going to make the displays, it’s an open secret in the industry that Balda has the job. It’s the only company in the world currently capable of producing the millions of advanced small-format displays that Apple will need,” Ewing and Hesseldahl report.

“Further down the road, other touch-screen makers such as California-based Synaptics Inc. (SYNA) may be able to ramp up production enough to compete. Although Apple declined to comment for this story, the company dislikes depending on one supplier for important components and typically encourages rivals to join the fray,” Ewing and Hesseldahl report.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]

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Report: Skyworks selected to supply ‘Front-End Module to Apple’s new iPhone’ – December 15, 2006

19 Comments

  1. > Although Apple declined to comment for this story, the company dislikes depending on one supplier for important components and typically encourages rivals to join the fray…

    Except when it comes to the CPU’s for its Macs, present and past.

  2. Not really.

    IBM supplied mostly G3’s and G5’s. Motorola supplied mostly G4’s. IBM did make some G4’s under contract with Motorola when it coundn’t meed demand, and Motorola probably made some early G3’s. But since Apple-Motorola-IBM were part of the AIM alliance, I would hardly call that not depending on one source.

  3. If Apple hadn’t gone Intel the Mac probably wouldn’t be taking off like it is now, so any regrets on IBM’s part would be unfounded.

    Not really unfounded. Just irrelevant.

  4. With the Chinese technology, Balda now makes glass-surfaced screens that are far more sensitive, thinner, and harder to scratch or smudge than the plastic displays that now dominate. They offer sharper resolution, and unlike conventional touch screens—which get confused by more than one finger at a time—Balda’s displays can sense several human digits simultaneously. Apple, which plans to launch the iPhone in June, has already patented software that would allow a user to place thumb and forefinger on the display, then spread them apart to magnify an image.

    Oh Lordy! Is that a turn on or what!? Awesome screen description!

    MW: physical, as in Let’s….

  5. Thin glass screen? It may be harder to scratch or smudge than plastic, but plastic is more flexible. How easy to break is it if someone, say, sit on the iPhone accidentally? Or drop it? I hope Apple knows what they are doing. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  6. I can’t tell whether The Horror is being ironic, but you should know that many iPod models also rely on components sourced from an EU-based company called Wolfson Microelectronics who are based in Scotland (or a minor Northern English county, as I like to tease my more militantly Celtic friends).

    I think they may fabricate using a facility in Swindon, which may or may not be connected to Intel in some way.

  7. MCCFR:

    If The Horror is not being ironic he’s being an ass.

    I really do wish we could keep the Euro-bashing off this forum [from the Americans], or for that matter the Far East or the World other than the US-bashing. It’s tiresome and childish.

    I appreciate commentary on the goings on in the EU commission as much as in the US Congress [being a Brit in New York], but let’s keep the idiotic diatribes against this or that country out of it and be grown up.

    There, I’ve had my rant now. Now back to the programme…

  8. Do these screens read electronic impulses from a finger? Lots has been written at MDN about Apple’s moving to touch screens for various applications and such, but what if we don’t have to use fingertip-direct touching? I mean, an entire new industry of “finger condoms” and the like could spring up around this. I can see my kids wanting Freddy Kruger-style or Edward Scissorhands-style appendages to use to control their Macs in the future. Specialized styluses will be developed, gloves, the whole works.

    Oops. Can I copyright these ideas? Damn. Should have kept my phalanges off the dang keyboard this time.

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