Although the last few days have been packed with rumors pointing to a smaller iPhone with a smaller display, Digitimes is now reporting that Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone, due in June, will pack a 4-inch display to go toe-to-toe with Android device’s larger displays. This information is said to come directly from Apple’s production lines.
Apple reportedly will change the screen size of iPhone to 4-inch for its fifth generation iPhone to compete with the Google Android platform in the 4- to 7-inch smartphone market, according to upstream component suppliers.
The component suppliers noted that the production lines for Apple’s next generation iPhone have begun testing, and Apple is interesting in expanding the screen size to 4-inches to support the tablet PC market as the vendor only has a 9.7-inch iPad in the market.
In fact, smartphones that adopt the Google Android platform are mainly 4-inch and larger models. Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S and Google’s Nexus S adopt 4-inch panels, Sharp adopts 5.5-inch for its smartphone, and Acer plans to launch a 4.8-inch smartphone. With Apple joining the 4-inch and larger market, 4- to 5.5-inch will become the major battlefield for smartphones and further change the industry dynamics for small- to medium-size panels.
What is worth noticing is that Dell has re-defined the market position of the Dell Streak 5 – which was originally focused on the tablet PC market – as a super phone. The Dell Streak 5 uses a 5-inch panel which stands in the gray area between tablet PC and handset segments and indicates there is an overlap in the market for 4- to 7-inch panels.
Chimei Innolux (CMI) is also producing touch panels at its 4.5G plant and part of its 5G plant through front to back-end method, and is also producing iPhone and iPad panels through IPS technology.
Panel makers noted that in addition to touch panels, AMOLED is another important development in the smartphone market. AMOLED supply remains in shortage, and Samsung’s subsidiary Samsung Mobile Display (SMD) is the leading player in the market with the largest capacity, while LG Display is actively following behind and AUO and CMI and actively becoming involved in the market.
Another report from the same source claims that iPhone 5 will sport a faster A5 processor (Dual-Core perhaps?) to take on the likes of recently announced Samsung Galaxy S II, while the iPad 2 will feature an enhanced version of the current A4 chip.
Apple is reportedly looking to outsource the production of its A4 processor as well as the next-generation ARM Cortex-A9-based A5 processor to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), according to industry sources.
According to Digitimes Research, the iPad 2 will support an enhanced version of the A4 and the A5 will power the iPhone 5. TSMC will initially produce the improved A4, and could likely become the exclusive manufacturer of the A5.