Analyst: iPad 3 Retina Display production “has started”

Mere hours after we verified the connection between DigiTimes display predictions and the J2 prototype found in iOS 5 code strings, DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim told CNET that production of a QXGA 10-inch 2048-by-1536 Retina Display for iPad 3 “has started”, as previously hinted:

It’s happening – QXGA, 2048×1536. Panel production has started [for the next-generation iPad]. There’s three suppliers. [...] It takes a couple of weeks for the production to go to the ODMs (the manufacturers). Then the manufacturer puts them in the housing. Then, that goes off to shipment. We could start seeing finished devices produced in December. And then being ready to be shipped in January. With volumes gearing up in February and March

J1 and J2 are code-names DigiTimes outed as next-generation iPad models allegedly in the works for 2012. Acknowledging possible issues with volume manufacturing of such a high-resolution display, the analyst stressed Apple should be able to meet targets because it is sourcing parts from three display manufacturers: Samsung Electronic, LG Display and Sharp.
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Unibody on Ultrabook: Metal on the outside, plastic on the inside


A precision aluminum unibody enclosure gives Mac notebooks structural integrity, providing all of the mounting features in a single part.

Makers of Ultrabooks, ultra-thin notebooks that conform to Intel’s recommended specs, are facing difficulties replicating Apple’s unibody process, citing limited capacity and price restrictions on the unibody process. They’ve come to realize that unibody construction requires expensive CNC equipment to machine a sturdy notebook case from a single block of aluminum, including internal parts and mounting features. Apple’s contract manufacturer Foxconn and supplier Catcher Technology own thousands of CNC machines and you can imagine where their priorities lie.

According to DigiTimes, the makers of would-be MacBook Air killers are turning to the cheaper high-density fiberglass chassis for the low-end, said to cost up to $30. For the high-end, Apple’s rivals are combining the exterior aluminum enclosure with plastic parts inside. Such a semi-unibody case is said to cost between $40 and $80:

The new aluminum chassis with plastic internal parts design will allow Ultrabooks to feature a metal appearance, but all the internal parts will be made from plastic stuck to metal parts using glue. Read more

iPad 3 to be 3D? Probably not

Business Insider says they have a friend who knows some Apple employees who say that the iPad 3 will have a 3D display.

We’re definitely not convinced.

What we have heard however is that Apple is working on 3G gestures which they’ve patented and could be used in iOS devices – though those would be more for an Apple TV type device.

There was an app that used the iPad 2 camera to figure out where your head was and made 3D objects appear on the screen.

Perhaps the person making up the rumor got those confused.

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Apple patent roundup: Dual OLED backlit iPad 3, speakers for iPod nano, and swipe and hold iOS gestures

There has been no shortage of Apple patent applications published by the US Patent & Trademark Office today (via PatentlyApple). Three of the most interesting with potential to be implemented in upcoming products include a dual OLED backlighting system for future iPads, integrated speaker clip for iPod nano, and new hold and swipe gestures for iOS devices.

First up we have a patent application that backs up a report from DigiTimes claiming Apple is considering alternative backlighting systems with a dual-LED light bar design for iPad 3. PatentlyApple outlines the application which details use of multiple OLED backlights not only in a future iPad, but also potentially in a next-gen iPhone, Cinema Display, MacBook, and iMac.

The report also claims Apple mentions “television in passing” within the application, while quoting an announcement from DuPont regarding new AMOLED processing technology, PatentlyApple says that tech is already being supplied to Asian AMOLED manufacturers. Apple’s alternative backlight solutions could also lead to an overall thinner design:

“The bonding of the OLED backlight in the LCD may also increase the mechanical rigidity of the LCD, which may enable the use of thinner glass substrates and possibly reduce the thickness of the overall device. Further, an OLED backlight may generally be thinner than a typical LED backlight, and may also provide improved light uniformity without the use of light guides or additional brightness enhancing films.”

Details on iPod nano speaker patent and swipe and hold iOS gestures below the fold.

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Digitimes: TSMC confirmed as Apple’s new processor fab

The rumors have been going on for months, but Digitimes is today saying Apple’s new processor foundry is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). The move by Apple is believed to be precipitated by Apple’s ongoing legal battles with Samsung, who has provided Apple with processors since the original iPhone was released in 2007 through Apple’s release of “its own” A4 processor and A5 iPad processor earlier this year.

Apple has recently signed a foundry partnership agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), industry sources have claimed. Under the terms of the agreement, TSMC will apply its 28nm and 20nm process technologies to produce Apple’s next-generation CPUs, according to the sources.

The contract appears to be long and lucrative for TSMC..

TSMC is believed to have quietly secured Apple’s contract, and even succeeded in extending the deal to cover the manufacture for the A6’s successor, the sources said.

In addition, the agreed contract quotes are favorable to bring little impact on TSMC’s profitability, the sources revealed. TSMC managed to negotiate a good price, allowing gross margins yielded by Apple’s orders to be similar to its overall gross margin performance at present, the sources indicated. TSMC’s gross margin for the second quarter of 2011 arrived at 46%.

The details weren’t released publicly and as can be expected, neither company is commenting on the move.

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iPad 2 estimates jump from 14 million to 20 million for Q3

A new report from Taiwan Economic News claims Apple’s main supplier Foxconn has significantly upped its iPad 2 shipment estimates from 14 million to  20 million units for Q3. The report notes this marks a significant “42.8% increase from its original projection” made in July. This confirms previous reports for third quarter estimates we told you about last week.
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Foxconn is already producing 150,000 iPhone 5s/day, 2nd supplier Pegatron won’t begin until 2012?

Somewhere in China there are stacks of millions of completed iPhone 5s.

Digitimes is reporting that iPhone 5 production is at full swing with 150,000 of the devices being produced per day. That isn’t quite the “volume” production level that Apple expects as it gets ready to release its phone for the holiday shopping season, however.

Lens maker Largan Precision, touch panel maker TPK Holding, reinforced glass supplier G-Tech Optoelectronics and battery vendors Simplo and Dynapack are all operating at full swing currently, the sources indicated.

We’ve also heard recently that these iPhones aren’t being boxed up just yet as Apple is finalizing the iOS 5 build that will eventually go on these iPhones.

Shipments of iPhone 5 from the supply chain are expected to reach 5-6 million in September but will then ramp up to over 22 million units in the fourth quarter as suppliers will ship fewer iPhone 4 and CDMA-version iPhones during the final quarter of the year, noted the sources.

Apple’s other manufacturing partner, Pegatron, is said to be holding off on production until 2012 and is expected to only build 15% of the devices overall.
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Samsung no longer exclusive chip supplier as Apple turns elsewhere for A6 processor?

Samsung, a producer of critical parts for Apple’s gadgets, may be on the verge of suffering another financial blow from Apple. A new report alleges that the Cupertino, California-headquartered personal electronics maker began lining up alternative suppliers for the A6 chip. The in-house designed processor should debut in iPad 3 next year and eventually make its way into iPhone 6 .

Trade publication DigiTimes has it on good authority that Apple recently visited an assembly line of packaging and testing firm Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL). Based on what they saw, they concluded that officials from Apple are reportedly willing to discuss the possibility of working together on the upcoming A6 processor:

Apple recently conducted a visit to SPIL’s assembly line, and both parties discussed opportunities for cooperation, the sources revealed. SPIL stands a chance of becoming the first packaging and testing service provider designated by Apple, cutting into the supply chain of the vendor’s processor line, the sources said.

The report explains SPIL is likely to “snatch outsourcing orders” for the A6 chip. Needles to say, SPIL is denying the story, which is what companies caught up in juicy Apple rumors always do.

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Apple currently plans to start pre-orders for next iPhone on Sept. 30, launch Oct. 7

We’ve independently heard that Apple has plans to begin selling the next-generation iPhone on Friday, October 7th; the date first reported by TiPB. According to our sources, Apple has been weighing between launching the new iPhone on October 7th or October 14th, but with the product’s latest stages of pre-mass-production currently moving along nicely, Apple is presently shooting towards a launch on the 7th. On top of this, unlike with the iPad 2, Apple plans to offer pre-orders for the new iPhone.

Apple currently plans to begin pre-orders for their next-generation smartphone in the final days of September. The company has still not finalized the pre-order start date, but is debating between Thursday, September 29th and Friday, September 30th. The 30th seems more likely at this point according to one of our sources.

Pre-orders for the new iPhone starting in late September will also mean that Apple’s fall event will take place in September; which would seem to counter NewsCorp’s Kara Swisher’s combative insistence of an October iPhone 5 event. Additionally, the first week of October date for the new iPhone’s availability, fits nicely with our report about AT&T’s major early October changes: data throttling and a new insurance plan for $199 devices. This release date would also jive with John Paczkowski’s report about the iPhone 5 becoming available in October.

Apple is rumored to be producing two new iPhones for a fall debut; one as an upgrade to the iPhone 4 and one as a cheaper, possibly prepaid, addition to the Apple smartphone lineup. The ‘iPhone  5′, at least, will likely feature Apple’s dual-core A5 processor, an eight megapixel camera, and iOS 5. In addition, the new flagship phone is expected to feature new software such as a powerful voice-based navigation system and other goodies like panorama photography capabilities.


(note the elongated gesture home button)

There has been mixed chatter about the device’s exterior design, with cases, which we first revealed, pointing to a thinner form factor. Others, though, have said the design will be largely similar to the current iPhone 4. As with any launch date report, we have to note that Apple is constantly shifting their launch plans. As we noted earlier, the launch date was already moved up a week in the company’s recent launch planning. We are reasonably confident, though, that as of today, Apple is planning to unleash their next iPhone on October 7th and offer pre-orders starting on September 29th or 30th. The date could and likely will change again, but we feel it is necessary to report the company’s current plan.

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Apple ups iPhone orders to 56M units for 2H11, iPhone 5 to be almost half

According to Digitimes, Apple has increased their second-half of 2011 iPhone orders to 56 million units from a previous goal of 50 million units. These 56 million iPhones cover current and next-generation models: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM + CDMA), and the upcoming “iPhone 5.” As previously reported, the iPhone 5 will make up almost half of Apple’s 2H11 iPhones with 25.5-26 million total units.

In addition, Apple reportedly originally planned to build 7 million iPhone 5 units for the third quarter, but adjusted their production plans to 5.5-6 million units. On the other hand, Apple is expecting major iPhone 5 demand in the fourth quarter and has increased Q4 iPhone 5 orders to 20 million units from 14 million units.

The iPhone 5 will go on sale this fall and will almost certainly include the dual-core A5 processor found in the iPad 2 and an eight megapixel camera possibly made by Sony. There has been debate over the new iPhone’s design, with some reporting a design that is largely similar to the iPhone 4, and others calling for a major redesign. As the iPhone 5 moves into Apple’s product lineup (in addition to a possible cheaper iPhone), Apple will be eliminating the iPhone 3GS.

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Apple’s buddy Foxconn to make a tablet for Amazon?

Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes quotes unnamed industry sources who claim Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer for gadgets, will produce a rumored Android-driven tablet from Amazon, said to sport a 10.1-inch display, with shipments to begin in 2012 at the earnest. Quanta Computer, another contract manufacturer from Asia, has already begun shipping a smaller seven-inch device to Amazon, the report notes:

Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) has reportedly landed orders for 10.1-inch tablet PCs from Amazon with shipments to begin in 2012, while Quanta Computer has begun shipping a 7-inch model to Amazon. Foxconn declined to comment on market speculation.

Foxconn of course is Apple’s long-time manufacturer so it comes as a surprise that Apple did not exercise its influence and billions to block rivals from tapping Foxconn’s manufacturing potentials. That’s not entirely unheard of, however…

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