Low Retina iPad Mini Production Reportedly Due to Burn-In Issue on Sharp's Display Panels

Last week, a report from Japanese business newspaper Nikkei shed light on the production issues surrounding the forthcoming Retina iPad mini, stating that Apple is now turning to rival Samsung as suppliers Sharp and LG Display have failed to produce an ample supply of displays for the new tablet. Now, a report from Korean website ETNews (via Unwired View) has elaborated on the matter, with Sharp's IGZO panels for the Retina iPad mini said to be suffering from screen burn-in issues.

While the burn-in issue is reportedly invisible to users, the panels do not meet Apple's specifications and thus the high rejection rate has resulted in low panel yields for the tablet. As noted in a report earlier this week analyzing the new iPad Air's use of IGZO technology, Sharp has experienced difficulties ramping up production of its IGZO panels in the past, with it taking until now for Apple to bring the technology to its products.

ipadminiretinapromo3

The burn-in problem was caused by the drastic reduction of the pixel size. The resolution of the 7.9-inch iPad mini with Retina display is 2048×1536, about four times clearer than the existing 1024×768 products. LG Display used the amorphous silicon (a-Si) for the substrate, whereas Sharp used IGZO. The pixel of the smartphone display is smaller than that of the iPad mini Retina panel, but as the Low Temperature Polycrystalline Silicon (LTPS) technology is used, it can be produced stably. The pixel of the iPad mini Retina is the smallest among those products using a-Si. Sharp failed to solve the chronic problem of IGZO, i.e. uniformity, and its yield went down.

The report also elaborates on how Apple may be negotiating with Samsung to produce displays for the device starting next year, turning back to its rival in part due to Samsung's experience solving a similar problem with third-generation iPad's move to a Retina display.

Apple is negotiating with Samsung Display for the supply of displays starting next year. Apple discussed cooperation with Samsung Display when it was planning on the iPad mini Retina. AUO, which was the iPad mini display supplier, was excluded from the retina version because of its yield problem. Apple was planning to receive 15 million panels from LG Display, Sharp and Samsung Display at the end of this year. However, as the negotiation with Samsung Display fell through, only LG Display and Sharp made it to the final list of primary suppliers.

If the issue of screen burn-in persists, the report also states that Apple may move to LTPS technology such as that seen in the Kindle Fire HDX, as it is less prone to the problem. However, while LTPS is commonly used on displays for smaller devices such as the iPhone, Apple is unlikely to mass produce the displays for larger screens in part due to scalability issues that simply won't support the tens of millions of tablets that the company is producing each year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook stated last week during the company's fourth quarter earnings call that it was "unclear whether we will have enough for the quarter or not," as the company has only promised that the tablet will arrive by the the end of November. As noted by Apple during the introduction of the second-generation iPad mini, a Retina display has been one of the most requested features for the smaller iPad since its release last year.

Update: MacRumors spoke with Ray Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies, who noted that LG is almost certainly not using a-Si for its Retina iPad mini display panels due to significant power issues with trying to drive a display of that pixel density using the technology. The company has also been shipping its own IGZO display panels for some time now, and Soneira pointed out that "it would be very inefficient to engineer the iPad mini to ship using two significantly different display technologies."

Soneira also clarified that "burn-in" is the incorrect term for what would be happening with these LCDs. It would be a short-term image retention issue perhaps similar to what some early Retina MacBook Pro users experienced, although it appears in this case that the effect is invisible to users.

Related Roundup: iPad mini
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

Razeus Avatar
104 months ago
I got a feeling I'm going to need to stay away from this one and wait for Mini Retina 2.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wilhelmer Avatar
104 months ago
[Apple]: The iPad mini Retina will be legen- ... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
[Customer]: meh.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Santabean2000 Avatar
104 months ago
Samsung to the rescue... Apple's best worst friend. Or worst best friend? However you cut the cake, Samsung have some technical know-how; anything you can do, we can copy it better!
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacFather Avatar
104 months ago
Deleted.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
netnothing Avatar
104 months ago
Exactly, but not only that, Apple's standards aren't being met (as the article clearly states), which means that those problems with the screens do *not* even make it to the device (they are being rejected, a la the "high rejection rate" stated in the article!), but that doesn't seem to satisfy all the chicken littles around here declaring the sky is indeed falling because a pea fell on the other side of the world.

Take a look back at iPad 3 screen issues and even the new iPad Air screen issues (because the Air uses the new technology).....even Apple is letting some issues through. I'm guessing that a screen has to be REALLY bad to be rejected, otherwise it makes it.

Don't for a minute think Apple is all high and mighty and only releases the best of the best....they are like any other company and are trying to pump out as many "acceptable" devices as possible.

-Kevin
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
caspersoong Avatar
104 months ago
If the burn-in is invisible to users, why is it a problem?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
airtag in hand

Apple Enhancing AirTags Anti-Stalking Measures With Android App and Shorter Sound Intervals

Thursday June 3, 2021 11:10 am PDT by
Apple is enhancing AirTags security to prevent stalking using the Bluetooth devices, Apple told CNET today. Apple is already sending out over-the-air updates to AirTags that will shorten the amount of time before an unknown AirTag alerts you if it is in your possession. At the current time, AirTags play a sound after three days of being away from their owner. After the update, AirTags will...
maxresdefault

Here's How Apple's New iPhone to iPhone Data Migration Feature Works in iOS 12.4

Tuesday July 23, 2019 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple this week released iOS 12.4, the newest version of iOS 12 available for iPhones and iPads. One of the new features in iOS 12.4 is an updated data migration option that uses device to device transfers rather than relying on iCloud. Apple didn't provide much information on the new data migration feature, so we thought we'd check it out in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the ...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
tmobilelogo

T-Mobile Data Breach Included Personal Information of Almost 50 Million Customers

Wednesday August 18, 2021 5:41 am PDT by
T-Mobile has issued a statement with further details about a cyberattack that the company confirmed earlier this week, confirming that the data breach included the personal information of almost 50 million current, former, and prospective customers. Late last week, T-Mobile confirmed that a forum post that purported to offer data from more than 100 million people was the result of a company...
airtag precision finding

AirTag Includes U1 Chip for 'Precision Finding' Feature

Tuesday April 20, 2021 12:11 pm PDT by
Apple's long-awaited AirTag was finally unveiled today, and as expected, the small circle-shaped accessories can be attached to items like wallets, keys, and more to allow them to be tracked in the Find My app. As was rumored ahead of release, each AirTag is equipped with a U1 chip, and on devices that also have U1 chips, there's a Precision Finding feature. U1 Ultra Wideband chips are...
m1 macbook air

Kuo: Mini-LED MacBook Air Coming in Mid-2022

Thursday July 22, 2021 7:48 pm PDT by
Apple will release a new version of the MacBook Air around the middle of 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in note to investors seen by MacRumors. The upcoming MacBook Air will feature a 13.3-inch mini-LED display, which would make it the second Mac to gain mini-LED technology after the 2021 MacBook Pro, which is rumored to include a mini-LED display and is expected to launch later ...
Apple Films Tom Hanks Finch First Look

Apple Original Film 'Finch' Starring Tom Hanks to Premiere November 5

Thursday August 12, 2021 8:52 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the original film "Finch," starring Tom Hanks in its titular role, will premiere on Apple TV+ on Friday, November 5 and shared a first-look image from the film. The first look at "Finch," shared by Apple. The film, which is anticipated to be an awards season contender, revolves around a man, a robot (played by "Get Out" actor Caleb Landry Jones), and a dog that form ...
2016 macbook pro flexgate b

Apple Faces Another Class-Action MacBook Pro ‘Flexgate’ Lawsuit

Thursday August 20, 2020 6:43 am PDT by
Another class-action complaint has been lodged against Apple, which claims that the company was aware of a MacBook Pro design flaw that caused some devices to have backlight display issues (via Apple Insider). The so-called "flexgate" problem was present in some MacBook Pro models manufactured between 2016 and 2017. The problem appears as dark patches along the bottom of the MacBook Pro's...
macbook air m1 first benchmark

Apple Silicon M1 Chip in MacBook Air Outperforms High-End 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Wednesday November 11, 2020 4:43 pm PST by
Apple introduced the first MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini with M1 Apple Silicon chips yesterday, and as of today, the first benchmark of the new chip appears to be showing up on the Geekbench site. The M1 chip, which belongs to a MacBook Air with 8GB RAM, features a single-core score of 1687 and a multi-core score of 7433. According to the benchmark, the M1 has a 3.2GHz base...