Production Of Display Panels Halted At Sharp, May Delay iPhone 5 Shipments

Sharp Corp. Japan, who is one of Apple’s leading suppliers of liquid-crystal-display panels for the iPhone 5, is facing difficulties manufacturing next generation iPhone screens and hasn’t yet started its mass production, according to a report by Wall Street Journal. As a result, the Cupertino company could face serious supply problems as it prepares to unveil the iPhone 5 next month.

Sharp had originally planned to ship iPhone 5 display panels to Apple by the end of August but now, it remains unclear when the company can begin shipping the panels, according to WSJ’s sources inside Sharp.

“It is unclear whether the delay at Sharp could lead to supply problems for the new iPhone. Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment

The delay at Sharp also comes as the Japanese electronics maker, which also makes televisions and solar panels, is struggling to cope with a cash crunch amid approaching debt repayment deadlines. While sitting on more than $15 billion in interest-bearing debt, Sharp has forecast a net loss of 250 billion yen ($3.18 billion) for this fiscal year through March, as its core businesses remain unprofitable.”

Meanwhile, other screen suppliers i.e LG Display and Japan Display, have both reportedly started shipping the iPhone 5 display panels to Apple. LG Display Chief Executive Han Sang-beom confirmed last week the company has began mass producing in-cell LCD panels.

Nonetheless, the delay in Sharp’s delivery raises questions about whether Apple will be able to secure enough iPhone screens to meet strong demand expected for its next generation iPhone.

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