Surprise! Apple swaps LG for Samsung display drivers in iPad 2s


Recently manufactured iPad 2 units have this Wise-View controller, a Samsung technology.  Previous iPad 2s had an LG chip. Photo: Chipworks

For all the talk about Apple reducing its reliance on frenemy Samsung and getting its chips and gadget parts elsewhere, iFixIt reports that silicon experts Chipworks have found out that newer versions of iPad 2 incorporate a new display driver from Samsung whereas iPad 2 units manufactured up to March 2011 used display driver labeled as SW0627B, “an LG display driver that dates back to the original iPad”. As for the new chip labeled as SW0627B, used in the original iPad and newer iPad 2s:

Chipworks’ latest batch of iPad 2s, however, seem to be using a new Wise-View chip. Little to no information can be found about the chip at this time, except that it appears to be a technology developed by Samsung. Sadly there’s no information on Samsung Semiconductor’s site regarding this display driver product line.

Despite lack of information, the Wise-View chip can be yours on Taobao for 24 Yaun a piece, or some $3.7. iFixIt speculates that Apple changing display driver suppliers may be “foreshadowing the release of an updated iPad with a higher-res screen”, providing no substantiation to support the theory, though. If you ask us, it’s just Apple at its best, covering all bases and making sure it doesn’t rely too heavily on a sole supplier.

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iPad shipments set to hit 65 million in 2011 — report

Perhaps you’ve been wondering if Apple will feel much impact once those Android and Chrome-powered tablets ship in 2011 — now a pair of reports suggest the magical iPad is set to maintain dominance for some time yet.

Report one tells us LG Display shipped 1.5 million iPad panels in November, while Samsung delivered 1.2 million units, suggesting Apple might have sold nearly three million iPads this month. Read more

Toshiba and Apple working on a display plant

Reuters reports that Apple and Toshiba are working together on a plant to make displays for iOS devices.

Toshiba Corp will spend about 100 billion yen ($1.19 billion) to build a factory for making small LCD panels, mainly to supply to Apple Inc’s iPhones, the Nikkei business daily said.The company’s wholly owned unit, Toshiba Mobile Display Co, will construct the facility in Ishikawa prefecture and the plant will churn out low-temperature polysilicon LCD panels, which allow for high-resolution images, the paper said.Work on the plant will start by early next year, with the production due to begin in the second half of 2011, Nikkei said.Toshiba Mobile Display already makes low-temperature polysilicon LCD panels at a facility in the prefecture and its monthly production capacity of 8.55 million units is projected to more than double with the new factory, the daily said.  Apple will invest in a portion of the investment for the factory, the Nikkei said.

What’s interesting is that current LCD display leaders from Korea,Samsung and LG (maker of the Retina Display), are not only competing with Apple but also selling products that go into Apple products to others.  For instance, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the WWDC audience that he thought that Apple would have the lead in displays for years with the Retina, yet Sharp and other manufacturers released Android devices with the same LG display within months of the iPhone.  LG also had a display deal with Apple and gave Apple a few month head start on those awesome 27″ panels before giving them to Dell as well.

Samsung, who make the A4 CPU and RAM for Apple’s iOS products, has been severely constrained with its high end Super-AMOLED display that powers its Galaxy S phones.  Those phones have been the primary high-end Android competition for the iPhone.

Perhaps Apple is trying to move away from doing business with its hardware competitors.

The bad news in this regard is that Toshiba also has just started to make Android devices.