A Sharp factory

This is something we’ve heard before from analysts, but the Wall Street Journal is now saying that Apple has tapped Sharp to supply the LCD displays for the next version of the iPad. This new iPad is expected to launch early next year, with dates from all the way to the beginning of the year to March being floated around. This new iPad is rumored to include a Retina Display – the super clear screen technology that was pioneered in the iPhone 4, as well as a faster processor. Earlier this year, reports claimed that Apple struck a billion dollar deal with Sharp to supply displays for Apple products. The WSJ says:

The person also said Apple is also investing in facilities at Sharp’s panel manufacturing factories in Japan, without specifying the amount being invested, highlighting Apple’s plans to work with multiple component makers to ensure that it can secure enough parts to make its popular iPhones and iPads. Osaka-based Sharp makes liquid crystal displays, which are widely used in tablets, smartphones and flat-screen televisions. Sharp already supplies LCD panels for Apple’s iPhone smartphones, according to the person. The company will be supplying panels for the next iPhone, which is also expected to launch sometime next year, the person added.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the WSJ report is that they claim Sharp will not only supply LCDs for the sixth-generation iPhone, but is already powering the display of current iPhones like the 4S and maybe the slightly updated 8GB iPhone 4. The next iPhone is already rumored to pack a 4 inch display and an aluminum casing, both of which are rumors we’ve heard before. The WSJ previously said this iPhone 6 would be a dramatically new design and would introduce some new way of charging the iPhone.

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