September 28, 2012
Sharp Isn’t Keeping The iPhone 5 Behind
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
As it turns out, it can be something of a logistical nightmare to manufacture and supply millions upon millions of a thing and have them ready by deadline. This is one of the reasons why Apple has before found it difficult to keep up with demand of their products, particularly during launch weekends. It´s also been tough for Apple in the past to simply keep up with the torrential downpour of demand, as each iPhone launch has topped the previous one. The iPhone 4S, for instance, saw more than double the opening day demand. This year´s iPhone 5 wasn´t quite able to double last year´s 4S, but they were able to sell at least 5 million within the first 3 days of availability.While supply of these phones quickly slipped during the first hour of pre-order availability, many of these early orders have begun shipping ahead of their expected arrival.
With online orders still at an estimated ship date of 3 to 4 weeks, many have begun to wonder if Apple´s supply chain is once again struggling to stand up under the heavy load of demand. Not so, says one Sharp executive, speaking with Reuters. Sharp – along with LG and Japan Display – provide the new, slimmer in-cell technology display for the new iPhone 5.
While some analysts have blamed Sharp for a bottleneck in production, limiting the availability of these new phones, one unnamed Sharp executive has said his company is making “adequate volumes” of these new screens to meet Apple´s demand.
An earlier report claimed Sharp had already fallen behind schedule in their production of these new displays just weeks before Launch Day.
This previous report had claimed Sharp was struggling to keep up with the high costs associated with building these displays. Sources familiar with the matter had claimed if Apple began to offer “financial incentives” to their screen makers, they might be able to get these panels out more quickly.
One analyst seems to sympathize with Sharp´s supposed inability to keep up with the cost of production.
"The iPhone 5's 4-inch low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) touch-panel display with in-panel switching (IPS) is exceptionally difficult to produce at high yields," said Yasuo Nakane, a Deutsche Securities analyst who also spoke with Reuters in an earlier piece.
According to Nakane, early iPhone 5 adopters likely received screens from LG and Japan Display rather than Sharp. LG and Japan Display, says Nakane, likely have the capacity to make 8 million screens a month to Sharp´s 6 million.
Some analysts have already begun to take a look at a few variables which may have kept Launch Day numbers lower than they had anticipated. For instance, Brian Marshall of ISI Group issued a note to investors earlier this week which suggested Apple´s claim of 5 million phones didn´t include any pre-orders. Similarly, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster issued his own note, saying the number of Launch Day sales would be considerably higher if Apple had counted the number of phones which were in transit during the first 3 days, or the number of early pre-orders. Either way, the iPhone 5 looks to be a best seller for many months.