Apple LCD supplier Sharp has not yet started mass production of displays for Apple’s next iPhone, raising concerns of a component shortage ahead of the new handset’s launch.
Citing a “person with knowledge of the situation,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Sharp had originally intended to start shipping iPhone screens to Apple by the end of August. But those shipments have been delayed because of “manufacturing difficulties,” sources reportedly said.
Now reports say it is “unclear” when Sharp will be able to begin shipping displays to Apple. Sharp is believed to be the only one of the three LCD suppliers for the new iPhone not yet shipping screens. The other two suppliers — Japan Display Co. and LG Display Co. — are already shipping.
While production issues aren’t expected to delay the release of the new iPhone, they could limit availability of the new device.
Sharp previously saw delays when they were tapped to be a supplier for Apple’s third-generation iPad. The hi-res Retina display was said to be so difficult to manufacture that only Samsung was supplying Apple with screen’s at launch time.
Friday’s news is just the latest in a string of bad press for Sharp, which has had its stock price drop by 70 percent in a five-month period. Apple partner Foxconn is expected to announce as soon as today that it has reached a deal with Sharp to buy at least 9.9 percent of the Japanese LCD maker.