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.
A few reports have floated around today that we are filing under rumor. The first comes from a Digitimesreport 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 Journalreported 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
Reutersreported today, while citing Japanese business daily Nikkei, that Sharp will supply its technology to Hon Hai for a new Foxconn plant that will produce panels for devices like Apple’s iPhone. The move follows an investment from Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai Precision in March, which agreed to buy 46.48-percent of Sharp’s LCD plant in Japan and $844 million in new shares for an 11 percent stake of the company.
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Sharp Corp will supply technological know-how to Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co for a plant in China that will produce panels for Apple Inc’s iPhone and other consumer electronics products, the Nikkei business daily said on Thursday.
As for what technology Sharp will provide, the report only specified it will be “aimed at improving quality management” at a future plant in Chengdu. Sharp will reportedly receive “tens of billions of yen in fees” through the partnership, and it announced plans today to buy back Sony Corp’s 7.04-percent stake in its Sakai, Japan-based plant.
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.
Twice the LEDs: That means more heat coming from more LEDs. This is especially a problem at full brightness.
2.5X the power needed: The brightness efficiency is lower, because the new iPad has more pixels (which means more transistors) compared to the iPad 2. More pixels and transistors take up more space, meaning less opportunity for light to pass. “So they basically have to blast light through the LCD to make it come out.” Soneira adds: “I measured the LED power at maximum brightness–it’s two and a half times greater than on the iPad 2.”
Battery generates more juice: The battery has to push out more power. This makes the battery warmer.
Traditional LCD technology: Sharp’s power-efficient IGZO technology was not ready for the new iPad, which forced Apple to use traditional —and less power efficient— amorphous silicon tech. [To be fair, the older iPads also used this tech. Perhaps Apple was hoping to go 100-percent IGZO to offset the above].
The biggest heater in the new iPad is the new processor that has four graphics cores. If you look at the heat maps Consumer Reports and Tweakers did, the center of the heat is right where that A5X sits on the left side of the device.
As a bonus, do not forget those hot and schweaty Qualcomm LTE chips that bring the “faster than home broadband” goodness directly to your 4G iPads.
With all the above said, it is a minor miracle Apple managed to keep temperatures within 10 degrees to 15 degrees of the earlier versions.
Apple just posted its 2012 Supplier Responsibility Report highlighting its efforts to audit and improve working conditions within its supply chain. As part of the report, Apple also posted a list of 156 companies currently supplying components for Apple products that make up over 97 percent of all “procurement expenditures for materials, manufacturing, and assembly” of its entire product line globally.
The list includes Toshiba Mobile display, which is —as far as we know—currently not supplying displays for Apple. There were rumors in May that claimed Toshiba was working on a 4-inch retina display and rumors last month that Apple and Toshiba are building a plant for display production, which were later debunked by the increasingly unreliable DigiTimes. It also includes Sharp, who was recently rumored to be ruled out of iPad 3-panel production due to quality concerns but also supplies other components to Apple. The full list is available after the break.
In 2011, we conducted 229 audits throughout our supply chain — an 80 percent increase over 2010 — including more than 100 first-time audits. We continue to expand our program to reach deeper into our supply base, and this year we added more detailed and specialized audits that focus on safety and the environment.
Every year Apple audits suppliers in eight areas including: Anti-discrimination, Fair treatment, Prevention of involuntary labor, Prevention of underage labor, Juvenile worker protections, Working hours, Wages and benefits, and Freedom of association. The overall results can be seen in the graphic below. We also learned than Apple found 42 facilities delayed wages, 68 facilities did not provide proper benefits, and 67 facilities held back payments as punishment.
There were also 108 facilities failing to pay legal requirements for overtime and holiday pay, and 5 facilities with 6 active cases of underage labor, to which Apple is requiring the suppliers “support the young workers’ return to school and to improve its management systems.”