A new report claims that Apple is in talks with Japan Display to help finance an LCD display factory in Ishikawa next year. The exact details of the agreement are still in flux, but Apple is said to be considering an investment of somewhere around 200 billion yen (or just under $1.7 billion).
The factory would churn out the same types of low-temperature polycrystalline silicon displays that are currently used in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Japanese news sources also say the factory could eventually be repurposed to build OLED panels like those found in the Apple Watch—and possibly in future iPhones. The factory’s output wouldn’t be exclusive to Apple’s devices, however, as the deal currently allows JDI to sell its wares to competitors.
If this deal sounds a bit familiar, there might be a reason for that. Apple previously made a similar deal with GT Advanced Technologies to build a factory for sapphire crystal iPhone 6 displays.
That partnership famously fell apart after GTAT’s leadership exhibited an astounding lack of competence and an unusually keen ability to waste money. GT Advanced eventually agreed sell its equipment to pay back Apple’s investment, but only after declaring bankruptcy and firing its entire staff. The sapphire factory is now being turned into a $2 billion global command center by Apple.
Here’s hoping Apple has better luck this time around.