Aug 23, 2013

    Apple product changes may hit Taiwan screen makers

    TAIWAN'S display-panel suppliers may be pressured by design changes in Apple's upcoming products, with the United States-based company adopting alternative display specifications, according to reports.

    The maker of iPhones is poised to adopt advanced display panels for its upcoming new smartphone handsets and tablet computers, reportedly drawing supply from Japan-based manufacturers.

    This would mark a departure from the glass-glass-substrate capacitive touchscreen solutions offered by Taiwanese companies.

    Reports indicate that Apple is set to adopt Japan-made in-cell, and indium-tin-oxide-coated display panels for the company's upcoming products to be released this autumn.

    With its current products nearing the end of their life cycles, including market mainstays such as the iPhone 4, iPhone 4s and the 9.7-inch early generation iPads, Taiwan-based panel suppliers are poised to be affected by the switch.

    Shipping volumes of handset and tablet-computer panels are expected to see a respective 19 and 28 per cent decline in the third quarter, compared to the previous period, said industry research institute Digitimes Research.

    Taiwan's touch-panel industry is likely to be sustained by demand for non-Apple product offerings, including Amazon's Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus 7 tablet computer - two 7-inch landmark products still featuring one-glass-solution (OGS) touch displays.

    However, Taiwan's OGS suppliers will face Chinese competitors such as Laibo and Lensonesz. Lenovo has adopted the metal-mesh touch-panel display technology offered by a Chinese maker, applying further pressure on Taiwanese companies.