iPhone 5S Hits Manufacturing Roadblock, Fingerprint Sensor to Blame

LCD driver chip production should have started in June, sources say

Sources in the Taiwanese electronics industry are signaling a roadblock in the manufacturing of Apple’s iPhone 5S mainly caused by poor yield rates in the production of fingerprint-recognition and LCD driver chips.

DigiTimes reports that volume production of these parts should have commenced at the end of June, or early in July.

However, “issues related to yield rates will delay commercial production of the two chips to the end of July, therefore affecting the initial supply of the iPhone 5S,” according to industry sources cited by the trade publication.

Created by AuthenTech (which Apple bought for US$356 million / €271.9 million in July 2012), the fingerprint recognition chip required modifications to its original design.

Issues related to this design alteration reportedly caused the lower yield rates. This, and the fact that “Apple outsources the production of the fingerprint recognition chips to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and the packaging of the chips to Xintec,” the report adds.

As a result of the roadblock, around three million units of the initial iPhone 5S shipments will be delayed to the fourth quarter, the sources said.

Nevertheless, Apple is estimated to ship a total of 30 million handsets in that quarter alone, but those shipments will also include the iPhone 4 (which sells for $0 with a two-year contract), the iPhone 4S, and the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5S is expected to bear a similar (if not identical) design to the current-selling model, but it will pack a speedier SoC (system on a chip) with (perhaps) more RAM and graphics power.

The phone itself is likely to be sold in more than two colors this time around, and recent leaks are pointing out to a new “budget” version of the handset with a plastic shell.

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