Report: New Apple Supplier Means LTE, New Battery, Screen for iPhone 5

A tech analyst’s recent report outlines how Apple’s production moves indicate that new technologies are coming to the iPhone 5 in the battery, screen, and LTE department.

Anyone who has followed the iPhone 5 rumor mill from its very beginnings knows that tech analyst reports often have to be taken with a grain of salt. But a recent report by Jefferies analyst Peter Misek would seem to be worth its salt in reliable evidence that Apple is taking long strides to produce next-generation hardware for the iPhone 5 that will deliver on some of the features that stalwart iPhone users have been calling for.

According to CNN Money, Peter Misek’s trip to Japan yielded a major nugget of news: “The “key takeaway,” as he calls it, is that Apple has sunk a lot of money — as much as a billion dollars — into a new supplier (most pointedly, not Samsung) and new screen technologies to build the next generation of iPads and iPhones with resolutions, battery life and prices its competitors will be hard-pressed to match.”

This is extremely positive news: it outlines the prospect of an advanced, industry-leading iPhone 5 in 2012 that will remain competitively priced within the smartphone market. The keywords “resolutions” and “battery life” checks off two hardware component upgrades sorely lacking in the iPhone 5.

In addition, the report also eludes to an “iPhone 5 LTE,” with the assumption that the next iPhone will be 4G.

Apparently much of the new gear for the iPhone 5 will come by way of Sharp — particularly the new displays. While the CNN Money article focuses much of its attention on Apple’s rumored television set, with may be hitting stores as early as February 2012, it appears that Sharp will be handling duties for the new iPad 3 and iPhone 5 screens as well. iPad 3 displays are said to already be in production, and that Apple will be using Sharp “for the vast majority of the iPad 3 displays.” The current logic also suggests that “For the iPhone 5 LTE we also believe this new facility will be used to supply displays.”

So what can be said about the new display technology? Apparently, it will be quite impressive: “We believe that Apple and Sharp together have a modified IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc) technology to achieve 330 dpi, which is sufficient for an HD display while not using IPS nor having to include dual-bar LED backlighting. In our view, this should lead to several design advantages, namely the device can be thinner, battery life should be longer, and the overall experience for users should be meaningfully improved.”

What was conspicuously absent from the Jefferies report was talk of a larger iPhone 5 screen. The current rumors all suggest that Steve Jobs himself was not in favor of a 4-inch+ iPhone screen (a notion that I suggested as a possibility during the Summer), but that Apple will be ready to bump up the screen size with the 2012 iPhone 5.

But in spite of all the new intel, there has been little discussion of actual display dimensions.


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