ASUS launching a 4k 31.5-inch monitor – but don’t expect to hook it up to your Mac just yet …

PQ321Q_Side_650

Update: Pricing has just been announced, at $3,799. Pricey, but actually not bad value in a market that had five-figure pricing not so long ago.

ASUS today revealed that it will launch a 31.5-inch 4k monitor late next month, its 3840×2160 pixels allowing four 1080p HD videos to display full-size on the same screen without overlap. A 4k monitor in such a small package is made possible by using an IGZO panel, whose smaller transistors enable greater pixel density, and is likely to be in the same league (and possibly from the same manufacturer) as the 32-inch Sharp panel we saw at CES.

However, don’t rush out to buy one just yet: it’s unlikely that even a top-spec Mac from today’s line-up would be able to drive the resolution at a decent frame-rate. But the next-generation of Haswell-powered Macs almost certainly will. Indeed, as we mentioned earlier, it’s even possible that a next-generation MacBook Air could do so … Read more

Sharp’s new 4K IGZO 32-inch display has Apple written all over it

Sharp is announcing a 32-inch 4K monitor today that uses its LGZO LCD tech expected to hit the Japanese market in February 2013. The roughly $5,500 PN-K321 monitor sports a 3,840-by-2,160 resolution and HDMI and DisplayPort inputs. According to Sharp, it will also be the thinnest monitor frame on the market at just 35mm. Even if analysts were wrong about a full-fledged TV set from Apple next year, these new Sharp displays would certainly make a pretty Thunderbolt display.

Sharp will put its IGZO displays in the hands of consumers in the near future, as it recently announced its first 7-inch tablet to take advantage of the technology’s low-power consumption features. Apple decided to not go with Sharps’ IGZO displays for its latest round of iPad launches. It instead sourced display components from AU Optronics, LG Display, and Samsung, but several reports in the past indicated Apple is interested in the technology. Apple was even recently rumored to be potentially making an investment in the failing company—much like Apple partner Foxconn previously agreed to.

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Sharp announces first IGZO 7-inch tablet, claims battery life increased over 2X with new tech rumored for Apple’s mini iPad

We heard reports in the past that Apple passed on Sharp’s IGZO display tech for the third-generation iPad due to Sharp not having the tech ready in time. Going with Sharp’s IGZO tech would have allowed for a thinner display assembly, a brighter display with less LEDs, and the ability to use a smaller battery or extend battery life specs as a result. It could have also helped shave off some of the increased weight and depth of the new iPad. These are all things we witnessed first hand when we got up close and personal with a few IGZO demos at IFA this year.  Sharp is announcing today its first 7-inch tablet to use the display technology, claiming the 1,280-by-800 IGZO display allows for 2.5 times the battery life from the tablet’s 2,040mAh battery (via ComputerWorld).

With the iPad mini launch coming later this month, it is a possibility the tech is finally ready for Apple to take advantage. Sharp also has 10-inch and 13-inch variants of the IGZO displays, but the 7-inch would of course make a lot of sense for iPad mini given what we already know about the device. Apple’s ability to increase battery life, or simply have the ability to use a smaller battery (in a smaller form factor) while maintaining battery life specs, is just one benefit. Another big benefit for Apple would be narrow borders: rumor has it—which is something we also talked about a lot in the past—the iPad mini will have a much narrower border than previous-generation iPads. Sharp told us its IGZO LCDs can be built with a bezel under 2mm, and it was showing off a demo display with a 1.75mm border at IFA. That would definitely fit the bill for the narrow-border, one-handed experience we expect from iPad mini. Read more

Sharp’s IGZO on display at IFA Berlin: better touch sensitivity, smaller bezels [Gallery/Video]

We had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Sharp today at its IGZO display booth. While they would not say which Apple products would incorporate their new displays, they did seem to insinuate these were the best displays on the market, and Apple is the type of company that uses the best displays.

So why are these the best?

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Chinese rumor roundup: Retina iMac coming in October, 7.85-inch iPad to use Sharp IGZO panel

A few reports have floated around today that we are filing under rumor. The first comes from a Digitimes report that claimed Apple suppliers are prepping for mass production of a new Retina iMac scheduled for July with a possible October unveiling. We told you in May that Retina iMacs were likely on the way when higher-resolution iMac display panels were spotted in Apple’s supply chain before the unveiling of the new Retina MacBook Pro at WWDC in June. Apple quietly updated the Mac Pro lineup after the event, and then it confirmed a redesigned Mac Pro was in the works for 2013, but we have heard nothing official from Apple on future iMacs.

We heard a lot about a possible 7-inch or 7.85-inch iPad, and today there are more roughly translated reports, coming from Chinese publication MyDrivers.com (via UnwiredView), that claim Apple has a 7.85-inch iPad using a Sharp IGZO panel. There have been several reports in recent months claiming Apple is working on the device, and the The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Apple was testing displays roughly 8-inches in size. Apple looks to be at least testing these screen sizes, but we have no solid proof that anything is planned as of yet. Previous reports indicated a possible October launch for a 7-inch iPad under $250. Read more

Often-rumored Apple partner Sharp announces production of Hi-DPI IGZO LCD displays


32-inch iMac or TV? We’ll take both!

Sharp revealed today that it began assembling high-performance LCDs last month with increased production in April to meet market demand.

Jefferies & Co.’s Peter Misek is a very outspoken analyst regarding Apple’s rumored HDTV. He first claimed in November that Sharp is preparing production lines for the “iTV,” but he later said the company plans to build roughly 5 million units beginning this spring with a product launch slated for Q4 2012.

According to Sharp, the LCDs will help the company contribute to “creating markets for attractive new products”:

Sharp will encourage the application of its new high-resolution LCD panels to high-definition notebook PCs and LCD monitors—which are both expected to grow in demand—as well as to mobile devices. Sharp will also contribute to creating markets for attractive new products.

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Actual iPad 3 production display placed under microscope, Retina Display confirmed

Macrumors claimed to have obtained one of the screens floating around on the Internet from iPad 3 production. Putting it under a microscope, the publication indeed discovered it has 4 times the pixels as an iPad 2 or double the horizontal and double the vertical, which yields 2,048-by-1,536 pixels.

Physically, the purported iPad 3 display is the same size as the current iPad 1 and iPad 2 display at 9.7″ in diagonal, and looks quite similar to the naked eye.

However, when comparing the iPad 3 display to one from an iPad 2 under a microscope, the difference in resolutions becomes readily apparent, with the iPad 3 display’s pixels appearing to be one-quarter the size of those on the iPad 2.

We are just a few weeks away from the anticipated March 7 announcement. While the Retina display was expected for some time, there might still be some surprises.

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Sharp rumored to ramp up iTV production in February for summer 2012 launch


An Apple television mockup by Adr-studio.it

More news concerning a rumored television set by Apple that several analysts and some media outlets have been calling for feverishly. According to a blog post published by The Tokyo Times news siteApple has commissioned Sharp to begin manufacturing large displays for an Apple-branded television set. Sharp should ramp up production in January:

American technology giant Apple is shifting partnerships in Japan towards Sharp, eyeing the production of a brand-new TV range which may be called iTV.

The product should hit the market by the summer 2012, the story goes. And according to New York Post, which referenced the original Tokyo Times report:

Apple has taken over the entire plant — pulling out of South Korea and its former partner Samsung — to insure the quality of the new set and to protect its secrecy.

The Tokyo Times story quotes Jefferies analyst Peter Misek as saying that Apple’s rivals have already begun “a scrambling search to identify what iTV will be and do”. The analyst wrote in a note to clients, based on his visit to Japan and talk with manufacturing executives:

It’s a huge deal for Sharp because they spent significant amounts of capital to try and expand capacity and upgrade their facilities. It gives Apple a partner that they can control manufacturing and secure supply at a lower price.

Please be advised that our confidence in The Tokyo Times isn’t very high…
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