Last month, a report by IHS’ iSuppli claimed the iPad 2 shortages Apple had to face in the quarter (with 4.69 million units sold announced at the Q2 2011 earnings call, well below Wall Street’s analysts’ estimates) were caused by production issues with the IPS display and built-in speaker of the device. Whilst the report didn’t provide additional details on the reasons behind the display manufacturing issues, iSupply wrote “quality concerns” affected Apple’s estimated number of initial iPad 2 shipments. The company mentioned ”lamination issues with one of the touch suppliers”, yet stating that Apple was on track to increase the volume of iPad shipments in the next quarter, as also mentioned by Tim Cook when referring to the iPad 2 as the “mother of all backlogs.”
A new report by Digitimes today claims the production issues with the iPad’s display were caused by light leakage issues in LG’s units, with LG shipping only 3.2 million display units in the quarter.
In other news, Samsung Electronics shipped a total of four million 9.7-inch panels for iPads in the first quarter, outpacing rival LG Display (LGD) as the largest tablet PC panel supplier for Apple, the sources indicated. LGD’s iPad panel shipments reached only 3.2 million units in the first quarter.
LGD was forced to reduce its shipments in the first quarter due to light leakage problem for panels produced at its 6G production lines. The company reportedly has fixed the problem and will resume shipment momentum to Apple in the second quarter, said the sources.
Digitimes does not relate LG’s manufacturing issues with overall iPad shortages in Apple’s Q2, but the report seems to corroborate iSuppli’s previous claims of shipments below estimates due to problems in the iPad production chain.
Following this morning’s refresh of the iMac — you can read more about it here — a few technical tidbits have started popping up on the Internet causing some interest and speculation from Apple fans and bloggers. Among the new features of the updated line — such as improved graphics, and new Intel “Sandy Bridge” processors — support for the Thunderbolt technology on the 27-inch iMacs has been extended, as the bigger models now come with two Thunderbolt ports to use for data transfer, daisy-chaining of external drives and peripherals and, as noticed and confirmed with Apple by GigaOM, dual external display output. Support for dual display out through Thunderbolt means you’ll be able to connect two external monitors to the new 27-inch iMac, and output the computer’s screen to the monitors simultaneously. This is great news for those who like external vertical monitor setups, and it’s now made extremely easy by the Thunderbolt ports located on the back of the iMac.
One of the most exciting things about today’s new iMacs (and the thing that will probably result in me buying one) are the dual Thunderbolt ports on the 27-inch iMac. They’re great in that they provide a lot of potential I/O transfer power, but more importantly because it allows the new iMac to output to two external monitors simultaneously, Apple confirmed to me this morning.
Achieving a similar setup was possible before, but it required users to buy USB or VGA adapters that resulted in loss of quality and poor performances when compared to native, wired Mini DisplayPort connections. Thanks to Thunderbolt’s daisy-chaining functionality, using both Thunderbolt ports for dual display output doesn’t mean you’ll be forced to constantly plug in and disconnect peripherals: if you own a Thunderbolt-based external drive, you’ll be able to connect it to the iMac, and then plug a secondary display into the drive’s Thunderbolt port. This way, Thunderbolt is used at its full capacity and you still retain the possibility to output to two different monitors simultaneously. (more…)
Japanese newspaper Nikkan is today reporting that Apple may have made a display component deal with Sharp for the display of the sixth-generation iPhone. It is based on reports that Sharp has begun preparation for the start of manufacturing in Spring next year at its Kameyama plant in Japan for an iPhone display using next-generation technologies.
Sharp will reportedly be producing “low temperature poly-silicon technology” displays, a next generation technology that will allow displays to be thinner and lighter whilst consuming less power than a current LCD display. The key component of these new displays is the polycrystalline silicon, which enables display drivers to be mounted directly onto the glass and thus have a thinner display. Other advantages of the technology include displaying a more vivid image and enhanced durability because of a reduced number of connecting pins.
Previous rumors had circulated that Apple had sided with Toshiba for future display manufacturing – but a Sharp representative disputed this at the time. In a similar vein, Tim Cook commented in January at the Q1 earnings call that Apple had entered a $3.9 billion component supply deal. He didn’t specify what component it was for, but it was speculated that it was for high-resolution displays and that the deal was between Toshiba, Sharp and a third manufacturer. Sharp was also at the center of another display rumor back in January in which they were supposedly preparing to manufacture glasses-free 3D displays for the iPod Touch.
If Apple were to do something like the above, the biggest question I would have is whether or not they’d put something into place for users who genuinely do want much smaller UI elements and much more screen real estate. That is, if Apple were to double their UI, and then use the 2×1080p resolution for the 27-inch iMac, there’s a sense in which current 27-inch iMac users would feel like they were actually losing screen real estate from their current 2560 × 1440 displays. But that’s why Apple’s Apple and I’m a guy writing about them: if and when Retina Displays do come to the Mac, they will have thought that issue through and either solved it, or decided that the set of users who would be upset by it isn’t a large enough group to hold other users back.
Tim Ricchuiti at The Elaborated makes a great case for the issues Apple would have to overcome in implementing higher resolution displays (let’s just call them Retina Displays for the sake of the argument) on Macs: at 3200 x 2000 pixels (that’s the resolution of the default wallpaper image found in the Lion betas, and no Mac or Apple-branded screen currently ships with such pixel density), UI elements on a MacBook Pro 15″ would look small, unless Apple comes out with a solution to offer same-size graphics, on a higher-res screen. On the iPhone 4, for example, they allowed developers to create “2x” graphics that, with double the pixels on the iPhone 4, look the same size of iPhone 3GS graphics. But how would you do that on a Mac, where users can decide to install apps both from the web and the Mac App Store, thus preventing Apple from enforcing a 2x standard? Plus, how could Apple offer a way to switch between bigger and smaller UI elements? A desktop ecosystem like OS X with computers featuring much bigger displays than iOS devices raises more questions over the implementation and usage of Retina Display.
According to a report by Japanese newspaper Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Apple is planning to invest in Toshiba’s new LCD plant in the Ishikawa Prefecture, central Japan, for the manufacturing of iPhone displays. The report, relayed by MarketWatch, claims that Apple has picked Toshiba as the sole Japanese supplier for iPhone LCDs, effectively ceasing talks with Sharp over an investment in their facility.
The report said that Sharp was no longer a candidate for Apple’s investment. Sharp said in a statement released Wednesday that the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun report “contradicts the facts.”
A spokesman for Toshiba’s LCD display unit declined to comment.
After Apple’s Q1 earnings call in January, Apple COO Tim Cook told the press and analysts that the company had entered a $3.9 billion component supply deal in a key area that was “an absolutely fantastic use of Apple’s cash”. Many speculated that, after flash storage supply deals and agreements, Apple identified high-resolution LCD displays as a key factor to iOS’ devices manufacturing process. Back then, speculation and Tim Cook’s own words suggested that Apple had entered a deal with three manufacturers, including Toshiba and Sharp. A month before the the Q1 financial results, Apple was indeed rumored to be discussing with Toshiba an investment in a new $1.19 billion factory — the same that Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun is mentioning today. But at the same time, several reports suggested that Apple was also considering a second investment in a $1.2 billion facility from Sharp — with over $60 billion in cash, a double investment in LCD manufacturing wouldn’t have surprised anyone. But today’s report seems to confirm that the deal with Sharp hasn’t gone through, implying that Toshiba has been chosen as the only Japanese manufacturer of iPhone LCD screens.
One of the most interesting features of the iPad 2 (cameras and thinner design aside) is the possibility to activate video mirroring: thanks to Apple’s Digital AV Adapter or VGA Adapter, any app on your iPad 2 can be mirrored on the television’s bigger screen with just an additional cable and no setup required. It works out of the box — meaning all your apps, presentations and websites can be sent off to a monitor that supports HDMI or VGA. This has been touted as one great functionality of the iPad 2 especially among teachers and people who always wished to mirror the iPad’s display to an external monitor during business meetings.
It’s been sometime since iDisplay had launched on the App Store, and I wanted to see if performance and friendliness had improved once the 1.3.2 update landed and brought support for the iPad 2. While I don’t yet have Apple’s iPad 2 dock, the Smart Cover provided an alternative, ample viewing orientation for a landscape extension from my MacBook.
iDisplay will universally work across your Windows and Mac boxes via a free client, though the installation process is less than friendly. Mac users are generally spoiled with easy drag and drop installs, but iDisplay requires manual installation and restart to successfully install the software. I wasn’t terribly happy that I had to stop all of my work to get iDisplay up and running, but to be fair DisplayPad which we reviewed back in December also required a restart. What bothers was that on the reboot, the resolution for my 1280×800 display changed twice before returning to normal upon the login screen. Despite a less than stellar install process, how well does the iPad app work?
Following speculation about Apple facing supply constraints and iPad 2 production issues due to the Japan earthquake and tsunami, Reuters reports this morning a story from The Economic Daily News which, citing no sources, claims Taiwan-based AU Optronics Corp — the world’s #4 LCD maker — has closed a multi-million dollar deal with Apple to ship iPad 2 displays this year.
AU could ship 30 million of the screens in a year, it said. The order will take up over half the capacity of its plant in Taichung, central Taiwan.
Apple ramping up production of the iPad 2 doesn’t come as a total surprise. The device went on sale on March 11 in the United States generating long lines at Apple Stores and authorized retailers allegedly selling around 1 million units in the first days; a similar scenario followed two weeks later in the 25 countries that got the iPad 2 on March 25th. In the past weeks, iPad 2 shipping times from the Apple online store jumped from 2-3 weeks, then to 4-5 weeks and they’ve now settled with a 3-4 weeks wait on the US Store.
Cables suck, and if you want to kill a presentation you need to be untethered from that fifteen foot long VGA cable tethered to that overhead projector. When a client wanted to cut the cord, some ingenuity resulted in shell housing a minimum of two components and a simple usb cable. The idea revolves around the HP Wireless TV Connect and a Cooler Master Choiix Power Fort battery pack to power the transmitter used for the iPad, connected by a simple USB cable. The HP Wireless TV Connect consists of a transmitter and a receiver: the receiver is connected to the display, while the transmitter is fed power (up to two hours) using the battery. Using a wooden block for a mold, a shell was created to house the components and sit the iPad 2 on top, with enough space to connect the cord from the dock connector to the components inside. How does it work? Asides from the bulk and the two pounds added, the wireless iPad works just as you’d expect it to. We have a video after the break if you’re curious to see how it all goes down, and if you have the time and money you too could roll your own for around $275 according to the mastermind behind it all.