updated 11:50 am EST, Fri January 21, 2011
Shows confidence in sales, says analyst
Apple's $3.9 billion component deal might have bought as many as 136 million iPhone displays, or 60 million iPad screens, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty. Her estimates shrink if the units are combined with touch panels, but still amount to about 100 million iPhone or 40 million iPad displays. Either scenario would indicate that Apple expects to sell large numbers of iPhones and iPads during the next two years.
The company has declined to say what it did buy with the investment, arguing that doing so would potentially let slip information about future products. Displays are figured to be a primary candidate though, given how crucial they are to Apple's product lines. With iOS devices in particular the company has placed an emphasis on extremely high-resolution "Retina" displays, currently found on the iPhone 4 and the iPod touch.
A matter of contention at the moment is whether or not the second-generation iPad will advance to Retina quality. Producing a 9.7-inch screen such a resolution could prove to be too expensive. At the same time, however, multiple reports have backed the notion that the tablet will support resolutions up to 2048x1536.