Apple’s supply chain is brimming with rumors about the next-generation iPhones and iPads about to come out, especially talks about the screens that these new products will employ.
According to a number of “industry” sources cited by the hit-and-miss DigiTimes, Apple is testing IGZO technology for the next batch of iDevices rolling out in 2013, starting with new iPads in spring, and continuing with the iPhone through summer and fall.
The Cupertino giant is reportedly “further evaluating how much IGZO panel supply will be available in 2013 if it were to use the technology in its next generation iPad, iPad mini and iPhone products,” these sources specifically said, according to the report.
Moreover, Apple is reportedly discussing with Sharp to get an estimate on IGZO panel production capacity for next year.
The Mac maker is also “inquiring about whether AU Optronics’ (AUO) L5C line could be used to produce the technology,” the sources reportedly said.
Finally, Innolux Corporation (formerly Chimei Innolux, or CMI) may also enter Apple's supply chain as the panel maker has reportedly been licensed by Sharp to use Sharp's IGZO technology on its 3G and 5G lines, the same people said.
Apple is reportedly planning to use IGZO technology across its entire iDevice lineup, including the next generation of iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch players.
Key advantages posed by IGZO (as opposed to the “in-plane-switching” / IPS technology used currently) include low power consumption, less backlighting requirements, thinner panels, and higher pixel density.
Additionally, the current flow inside the screen is different (compared to non-IGZO screens) translating into fewer transistor refreshes for when a still image is on the screen, for example.
Apple is widely expected to unveil an iPad 2 with Retina display this spring, followed by the iPhone 5S at WWDC in summer and the iPhone 6 in the fall of 2013.