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Suppliers expect sharp touch panel drop ahead of new iPhone

updated 10:00 am EDT, Fri May 4, 2012

Parts shipments could slip up to 20 percent in current quarter

Two of Apple's touch panel suppliers, TPK and Wintek, wiil see shipments to drop by 15 to 20 percent in the current quarter because of the transition from the iPhone 4S to the next-generation iPhone, industry sources tell DigiTimes. The 4S is described as "moving into the final stage of its product life cycle," and TPK has previously stated that it expects revenues to fall 10 percent sequentially in Q2 as a result of iPhone 4S stockpiling and people holding off on buying an iPhone.

The sources also suggest, however, that Apple will probably switch to in-cell touch for the next iPhone. The technology merges touch sensors into the screen itself, meaning that companies like TPK and Wintek won't be able to sell Apple any touch modules. The sources estimate that in the second half of 2012, TPK and Wintek's combined deliveries to Apple will be about a third of those for the first half of the year.

Wintek recently reported revenues falling 11.4 percent month-to-month in April to $317.43 million, although the figure compares against record revenues in March.

Apple is generally believed to be many months away from shipping the next iPhone, if it keeps to the same launch schedule as the iPhone 4S, which debuted in October. Suppliers though will need to prepare well in advance, delivering parts in time for a month or two of manufacturing to build up launch inventories.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    sounds like BULL5H1T to me

    Did the iPhone 4 production 'wind down'? No, at $99 (with contract), it continues to sell well. The 4S will be slotted into the $99 price bracket when 'the new iPhone' arrives, so production will definitely continue.

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    just market manipulation

    I agree with Paul. The market manipulators are in full gear. Walmart drops price of iPhone4S and "industry sources" say the touch panel suppliers are dropping shipments. This is all manipulators need to mess up AAPL, which is down big time again today. Of course, once the actual numbers come out, these same manipulators will have bought at the bottom and will end up with tons of profits. Why can't we get the actual names of these sources along with actual data instead of all this speculation?

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPhone 4S has 2.5 years to live

    Re: "The 4S is described as 'moving into the final stage of its product life cycle'..."

    Where "final stage" translates to "no longer the newest model." If Apple does with the 4S what they did with the 3GS, the 4S will drop to $99 on contract late this year. And it will drop to $0 on contract in late 2013. And it will likely be phased out entirely in 2014.

    But, since we're talking about touchscreen panel suppliers, maybe there's a different interpretation to "final stage." Maybe TPK and Wintek really are going to stop making legacy-technology screens for iPhone 4S. Maybe Apple will equip all Retina-resolution iPhones with in-cell touch technology screens.

    That would help decrease Apple's cost per in-cell screen. Because they'd be purchasing far more than they would if only the 2012 iPhone has an in-cell touch screen. On one hand, it will probably increase the cost of the 4 and 4S. On the other hand, Apple would get a better volume discount on the in-cell touch screens. (Not to mention buying up a larger portion of the overall supply, forcing the competition to pay more...)

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