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Two weeks to go, but Apple may be having display issues with the iPad 3

by Doug Drinkwater

February 21 2012

The iPad 3 is expected to have a 2048 x 1536 resolution 'Retina' display
The iPad 3 is expected to have a 2048 x 1536 resolution 'Retina' display

Display industry veteran Ray Soneira has today indicated that Sharp’s high-resolution IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) LCD panels are unlikely to feature on the iPad 3, at least when Apple launches its next tablet in early March.

The iPad is widely expected to be announced on 7th March, but Soneira says significant delays at Sharp make it ‘extremely unlikely’ that the Japanese firm’s panels will feature on the first batch of iPad 3s.

Soneira, who is president of the DisplayMate Technologies - a company that specializes in display calibration, highlighted Sharp’s end of 2011 financial statements, which revealed that the company expected to encounter significant delays for the IGZO panels as one of the main reasons for the iPad 3 display shortage, and expects production to still be some way off.

“The word ‘expected’ has been used for a year now to describe IGZO production. Starting production for a new technology is always slow and iffy so at best it will many months (if indeed they are coming to the iPad 3)”, said Soneira, when writing in an email to TabTimes.

Soneira said that, in the possible short-term absence of Sharp, Apple will turn to LG and Samsung as iPad 3 display suppliers, with the latter something of a surprise given the two companies’ fierce legal battles in recent months. Soneira says that LG was the principal supplier for the iPad 1 and 2, while Samsung and CMI were also suppliers for the iPad 2.

Sharp’s IGZO is a technology for producing the TFT Active Matrix in a display, and is similar to the Low Temperature Polysilicon technology used for Apple’s current iPhone 4. The IGZO technology is well regarded for its increased brightness and, as it uses less LED bars, improved battery life.

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