Reuters claims that "production of 5.5-inch screens is expected to start several months later, with the possibility of a shift to a film sensor instead of in-cell technology for that size, the source said."
Film sensors have been in the rumor mill for a few years, as a lower-cost sensor technology to replace Indium Tin Oxide (ITO). But one of the best known, In-Touch Sensors developed by Unipixel, apparently has only recently moved into large-scale commercial production. 3M announced in January it was ramping up its own touch film production.
Although the Reuters story doesn't explore this, the alleged start of display production in May raises questions about whether the display will, or can, make use of the sapphire that Apple may or may not yet be producing at its Mesa, Ariz., facility, which will stock sapphire furnaces from GT Advanced Technologies. The use of sapphire as a cover glass, replacing Corning's Gorilla Glass, will require a whole new set of downstream facilities that can cut, shape, process, and finish the extremely hard sapphire sheets. It's quite unclear whether Apple's supply chain has accomplished this upgrade.
One could speculate that the 5.5-inch "delayed" larger display is the one slated for sapphire glass. But any delay, which apparently refers to assuming a September announcement was scheduled, might mean a 5.5-inch iPhone would be announced later in 2014.
iPhone 6 5.5-inch screen revealed by Apple partner
A number of iOSpherians seem convinced that a Japanese company that is said to be one of several display panel suppliers to Apple has revealed the screen to be used in the iPhone 6.
"Is this an iPhone 6 display?" wonders the headline to the Brooke Crothers post at CNET.
Japan Display Inc. announced a week ago that it has developed a 5.5-inch wide Quad HD display, with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels and a pixel density of 538 pixels per inch, and it's targeted at "leading-edge smartphones," Crothers noted. The previous week, a Tokyo-based business publication said that Japan Display was one of three display suppliers for the Next iPhone.
JDI says it will start shipping the 5.5-inch TFT LCD display modules for smartphones in April.
JDI's release also doesn't mention sapphire, as noted above. If this display is being used in the purported larger iPhone model, then it too is unlikely to be making use of sapphire glass.
So, to recap, we still don't know what size screens the Next iPhone will have.
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