Sharp Corporation Stories March 29, 2016

Foxconn shares suspended due to “major announcement” expected to be Sharp acquisition

It looks like the on-off acquisition of display-maker Sharp by iPhone assembler Foxconn is back on. The WSJ reported earlier that the two companies have been discussing a significantly lower valuation for the company, and Reuters now reports that share trading in Foxconn has been suspended due to a “major announcement.”

Japan’s Sharp Corp and Taiwan’s Foxconn are set to sign a merger deal this week after repeated delays, with the two sides set to agree on a smaller bailout than originally planned for the troubled Japanese electronics maker, two sources familiar with the talks said.

The deal is expected to be finalised during board meetings by both companies tomorrow for around $2B less than originally discussed, after a rather stormy journey.

Sharp Corporation Stories March 4, 2016

Foxconn’s acquisition of Sharp reportedly back on track after earlier doubts; Apple’s involvement still unclear

Foxconn’s planned takeover of Sharp, to allow it to begin making displays for iPhones as well as assembling them, is reportedly back on track.

First reports of Foxconn’s interest in purchasing Sharp’s display division emerged last September, when it was reported that Apple would come on board as an investor. Foxconn made a $5.3B bid in January, and it was initially reported that the deal had been concluded last week.

Sharp Corporation Stories February 26, 2016

Foxconn acquisition team “went berserk” when they learned of potential Sharp liabilities, deal in doubt

Plans for iPhone assembler Foxconn to acquire Sharp, allowing it to move into making displays for future devices, now appear in significant doubt. Initially reported in Japan as a done deal, the WSJ quickly reported that Foxconn was “delaying” signing – and the same source today reports that talks have broken down.

Sharp Corp on Friday scrambled to salvage a sale to Taiwanese electronics assembler Foxconn as its stock plunged and investors questioned whether the companies could restore trust to make their proposed marriage work after an 11th-hour breakdown in talks … 

Sharp Corporation Stories May 14, 2014

iPhone market share in Japan climbs from a quarter to more than a third of all phones sold

Apple’s deal with Japan’s largest carrier, DoCoMo, saw the iPhone’s market share in the country climb from 25.5 percent last year to 36.6 percent in the year ending March of this year, reports Bloomberg. This full-year figure underestimates the current position, as it reflects only six months of sales through DoCoMo.

Japanese companies Sharp and Sony took second and third places, with 13 and 12.3 percent respectively, while Samsung was in sixth place at just 5.7 percent.

Apple’s market share in Japan hit almost 70 percent when the iPhone 5S and 5C were made available on DoCoMo, as pent up demand was first unleashed. Since then it settled back to just under 50 percent last quarter, and we’re likely to see a similar number in the full-year figures in six months time.

Sharp Corporation Stories March 18, 2014

Despite courtroom battles, Apple picks Samsung to make iPad mini displays, claims report

While there seems no end in sight to the courtroom patent battles between Apple and Samsung, that doesn’t seem to be interfering with the business relationship between the two. Korean site ETnews (via G4Games) reports that Apple is bringing Samsung into its manufacturing mix for display panels for the iPad mini.

Apple currently uses a mix of three manufacturers for its iPad mini displays: AUO for the non-Retina model, and LG and Sharp for the Retina displays. The report claims that Apple is dropping AUO altogether, and cutting back its orders with Sharp, giving the resulting business to Samsung.

While media sources in manufacturers’ home markets are not always reliable where supply chain rumors are concerned, this one has enough specifics to seem credible at least – and the quality of the Retina iPad mini screen has been criticized in both reviews and benchtests.

Sharp Corporation Stories November 1, 2013

New report reiterates iPad mini screen supply shortages at Sharp and LG, Samsung brought onboard to aid production

According to a DisplaySearch analyst report published in the Nikkei, via CNET, both LG and Sharp are having trouble ramping production of the iPad mini’s 7.9inch Retina display.

The report states that Sharp is struggling to produce any level of output at all. This corroborates with a Digitimes report from earlier this week. Apparently, Sharp’s Oxide TFT process is to blame for the low yield rates.

Sharp Corporation Stories May 31, 2013

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 … expand full story

Sharp Corporation Stories December 12, 2012

WSJ: Apple testing several TV set designs with component suppliers, not considered a ‘formal project yet’

The Wall Street Journal is out with a report today, citing sources close to Apple’s suppliers, on the company’s development of its much-rumored HDTV set. While the majority of the story is what we’ve heard from both analysts and past reports, according to WSJ, Apple is currently “still in the early stage of testing” but also in the process of evaluating several TV set designs with component suppliers. One of those suppliers is apparently Sharp:

Officials at some of Apple’s suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has been working on testing a few designs for a large-screen high-resolution TV… Two people said Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., 2317.TW +0.63% which assembles the iPhone and iPad, has been collaborating with Japan’s Sharp Corp.6753.TO +7.80% on the design of the new television.

While some might speculate this means Apple is closer to bringing a TV set product to market, the WSJ noted in the same report that Apple “has been testing various TV prototypes for a number of years.” WSJ’s sources added that Apple’s TV set efforts are not considered a “formal project yet.”

Apple, which works with suppliers to test new designs all the time, has been testing various TV prototypes for a number of years, according to people familiar with the efforts. The company generally tests and develops products internally before doing so with outside suppliers.

Sharp Corporation Stories November 28, 2012

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.

[tweet https://twitter.com/stroughtonsmith/status/273821545661607936]

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Sharp Corporation Stories November 5, 2012

Apple rumored to be making investment in failing Sharp

According to a report from IDG, Sharp has not so surprisingly announced in its recent earnings report there is “‘material doubt’ about its ability to continue operating.” While Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn previously agreed to buy an 11-percent stake in the company, today’s report noted those negotiations continue to drag on and risk falling through as Sharp’s stock price continues dropping. To turn the company around, rumor has it Sharp will focus on its IGZO technology and displays for smartphones and tablets, while possibly seeking investments from Apple in the process:

Sharp added, however, that it still believes it can cut costs and secure enough credit to survive. Its IGZO technology for mobile displays is likely to be a key element of its business strategy…The company, whose stock has been downgraded to junk status by ratings agencies, continues to seek investments from outside companies, with media reports in Japan linking it to companies including Apple and Intel.

As far back as November 2011, Apple was rumored to invest in Sharp’s display factories in Japan. Earlier reports indicated Sharp’s IGZO displays could possibly be used in Apple’s new 7.8-inch iPad mini, but recent teardowns of the device confirm Apple is using display components from Samsung, LG, Display, and AU Optronics. Sharp, however, remains a key Apple component supplier, and it recently confirmed it is back to producing “adequate volumes” of iPhone 5 displays after facing weeks of delays leading up to the device’s launch. In August, a report from Reuters suggested Apple could provide Sharp with financial incentives to speed up production and help with high costs cutting into the company’s margins on displays.

Sharp recently announced its first tablet to use the IGZO display technology. The displays are expected to go into mass production by the end of the year, so it’s certainly possible next generation iPads could take advantage.

Sharp Corporation Stories October 17, 2012

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. expand full story

Sharp Corporation Stories September 1, 2012

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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Sharp Corporation Stories July 3, 2012

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. expand full story

Sharp Corporation Stories April 13, 2012

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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Sharp Corporation Stories February 17, 2012

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 Corporation Stories November 28, 2011

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… expand full story

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