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Is Sharp Manufacturing iPhone 5 Display?

Sharp has identified itself as a supplier for the iPhone 5, the new company president Takashi Okuda said in a press release shortly after it presented the company’s last quarter performance numbers.

There was a lot of speculation about the iPhone 5 release date, iMore being the first one citing reliable sources which specified a September 12 launch. If Sharp ships the panels in August, all will be set for a third quarter presentation of the eagerly-awaited next generation iPhone.

Sharp IGZO panel drawings
Sharp is on Apple’s supplier list, being one of the three companies building panels for the Cupertino company’s iOS devices. There were also reports last year about Apple investing in manufacturing equipment for Sharp’s Gen 6 Kameyana manufacturing facility, which is dedicated to build panels for the world’s most valuable tech company.

There are two things we need to consider when reading Sharp’s comment on panel shipments: First is that the company has recently started producing IGZO panels, which is set to change the display industry by implementing a new technology which aims to reduce costs and enhance the user experience (brighter, higher resolution display); and secondly, Sharp stated the same thing before the launch of the iPad—”the production is on track, we’ll start shipping as early as February”—, when it was rumored the company would ship panels for the tablet.

In the end the Sharp IGZO panel shipment never materialized; instead we could see Samsung shipping the iPad’s display, despite its gunpowdered relationship with Apple. In addition, LG Display recently received a huge order from Apple, so it is likely to see LG displays in the upcoming iPhone 5 using the rumored in-cell technology, instead of Sharp’s IGZO display.

However, there were some changes since February at Sharp—including a new president and the appearance of the first IGZO panels—so you never know. We will keep you posted about any update.

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