Sharp exec says producing adequate volumes of iPhone 5 in-cell display

“Sharp Corp is making ‘adequate volumes’ of displays it is known to supply for Apple Inc’s new iPhone5 , a company executive said, indicating that a possible bottleneck in supplies of screens may have eased,” Tim Kelly and Yoshiyuki Osada report for Reuters.

“Analysts had blamed a shortfall in supplies of display for leaving Apple with too few iPhones to meet burgeoning demand at its launch this month.” Kelly and Osada report. “Apple also buys screens from Japan Display and Korea’s LG Display.”

Kelly and Osada report, “Apple began offering the iPhone 5 on Sept 21, selling over 5 million in the first three days, topping the iPhone 4S, which sold more than 4 million units in its first weekend. On the fourth day, Apple said it had run out of its initial supply and many pre-orders were scheduled to go out in October. ‘The iPhone 5’s 4-inch low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) touch-panel display with in-panel switching (IPS) is exceptionally difficult to produce at high yields,’ Deutsche Securities analyst Yasuo Nakane said in a report on Sept 14.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Since I don’t understand high volume manufacturing, i’ll just ask. Once the R&D is completed and you know how to build ‘one’ display, can’t the machines just replicate it? Why should yields be so low?

    1. Manufacturing defects. If the process has to be extremely exacting/complicated or the components/materials are fragile, then there’s a lot of room for defects to occur. However, there are a lot of other factors that could produce low yields. This happens in all industries.

      Furthermore, as with anything new, kinks need to be worked out of the system to lower margins of error.

    2. 1- machines are not involved in every step
      2- nothing is 100%
      3- high vs low yields is subjective depending on product
      4- R&D and building just one does not reveal all issues
      5- practice makes perfect
      6- back to point 1 above: machines aren’t perfect either
      7- R&D is never complete
      8- even copy machines dont get it right every time. Actually copy machines NEVER get it right, there is always a blemish somewhere.

    3. A saying I heard years ago sums this up:

      Making one is research.
      Making ten is engineering.
      Making one hundred is manufacturing.

      Although, I would venture a guess that those numbers are one or two orders of magnitude too snall.

  2. Something does not add up? I doubt that 5 million units were sold as advanced by the pro Apple Press. I ordered 2 with a delivery date of October 19th and I have both in my possession since yesterday.

    Talk to folks who are not converted to Apple and you realize that they are not even considering the small form factor iPhone 5.

    There is a lot of propaganda out there and I am starting to believe that sales numbers are baked. This of oo course is not exclusive to Apple but it appears to be the way things re done in the industry these days.

      1. Not sure I follow? My last sentence clearly states that this is not behaviour exclusive to Apple? Take your meds. Wow!

        Let’s see what the numbers are in 90 days once the converted have purchased their unit.

    1. Gary, issuing a press release about financial information that is not truthful is very risky business.

      If you can’t understand how Apple could have delivered your iPhone early, you should read the article at asymco dot com regarding the 5M units. They propose that Apple got the balance between online orders and retail purchases wrong, as online orders are up far more than expected. The result is that Apple is repurposing inventory from retail to online orders, thus, orders are being fulfilled earlier than expected.

      Further, one thing you could check is whether your device shipped direct from China. If it did not, then you got a repurposed device that had originally been earmarked for retail sale.

  3. There may have been an adequate supply all of the time and limiting the initial supply may have been the plan all along. One reason might be that Apple felt it could not adequately support more than 5 million phones at first, especially knowing that the map thing was going to be an issue that was going to strain Apple Care. We know that they are going to be more aggressive in their launch plans, going to more countries and carriers. Why so aggressive if you can’t, within a reasonable tim, supply that demand?

    1. One, who calls AppleCare about maps? Second, only a fraction of people even get AppleCare. Third, Apple allocates production to online launch, retail launch and international launches. They calculate based upon past history how to allocate between these. If they get the allocation wrong, then it’s possible to have adequate supply, but in the wrong places, causing supply constraints in online orders, with adequate supply in retail, etc.

  4. Analysts are suggesting that there is a shortage of screens, while Sharo say that isn’t so. Meanwhile Apple have sold 20% more iPhones than ever before over the launch weekend.

    I know this could be a long shot, but has anybody considered the possibility that the analysts might just have got it completely wrong again ?

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