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New Backlight Enables iPhone 6's Thin Design, May Cause Production Challenges

Leaked images, mockups and schematics suggest the iPhone 6 will be Apple's thinnest iPhone model to date, with a side profile approaching that of the 6.1 mm iPod touch. A new report from Chinese media sources (Via GforGames) suggests Apple may face yield issues with the next generation iPhone due to its decision to minimize the size of the handset.

According to supply chain sources who spoke anonymously to China Times, Apple may use only one brightness enhancement film (BEF) in its LCD display as a space-saving measure. Current generation iPhone displays are supplied by Minebea and use two layers in order to improve readability in these backlit displays.

This change to a single layer technology may cause yield issues as the one layer has to be of a higher quality in order to take the place of two. To meet demand for this new part, Apple allegedly is looking to OMRON and Radiant as suppliers to supplement the projected output from Minebea.

Despite an earlier rumor that Apple was considering adopting "touch on display" technology for future iPhone models, this latest report claims Apple will continue to use the current in-cell display for its upcoming iPhone 6. Sources also claim the main suppliers for the iPhone will remain LG, JDI and Sharp, which was rumored to have been dropped from Apple's iPhone 6 supplier chain. According a report from Taiwan's Economic Daily News, Apple was said to be replacing Sharp with Innolux due to "Moire" issues with Sharp's early sample panels.

Though it won't comment on its role in future Apple products, Sharp did confirm it is betting big on Apple with an entire plant dedicated to producing displays for the Cupertino company, said Sharp Senior Executive Norikazu Hoshi in an interview with Japanese newspaper Nikkei (via CNET). Similar to other companies that supply Apple, Sharp faces some risk in this strategy with large swings in monthly production due to Apple's once-a-year product refresh cycle.
The No. 1 plant's output goes to just one company (Apple). If you look at just this plant, it certainly presents a high level of volatility risk. But if we make LCD panels for smartphones in large quantities at the No. 2 plant, we can absorb the impact even when the No. 1 plant is not doing so well.
Sharp, Minebea and other Apple suppliers are gearing up for the expected mass production of the iPhone 6 which is rumored to begin in July. The iPhone 6 is expected to launch in September and may be available in both a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch version.

Top Rated Comments

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70 months ago
Hmmm, if the profile is thin enough and the battery is thinner, this might allow people to carry two iPhones in the same pocket for all-day usability! :p
Rating: 21 Votes
70 months ago
Cmon with the "thinner is better" obsession. Make it a little thicker and give me twice the battery life. Is that so hard?
Rating: 19 Votes
70 months ago
I heard the Apple logo on the back will glow if there's Orcs or Goblins nearby.
Rating: 16 Votes
70 months ago
Who is driving this thin obsession?
Rating: 13 Votes
70 months ago
I want thin BEZELS the body is already thin enough
Rating: 9 Votes
70 months ago
If it's so thin that the camera lens protrudes, it's probably too thin.
Rating: 7 Votes
70 months ago

Consumers. With every iPhone release, the phone gets thinner and sales go up. So clearly, the consumer wants them thinner.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's the market which has purchased 500 million of them.

The sales volume spin is- IMO- the weakest argument for or against any one feature or benefit of anything. 500 million in sales is not a vote for thinner over thicker; it's a vote for iPhones as a whole, great benefits and not-so-great issues we have to tolerate if we want an iPhone. Else...

Suicides are up so clearly more people want to kill themselves
Murders are up so clearly more people want to kill each other
Oil sales are up so clearly people want higher-priced gas
War casualties are up so clearly more people want to fight wars
Drug use is up so clearly more people want to use drugs
Government revenue is up so clearly more people want bigger government
World population is up so clearly more people want bigger crowds
Windows OS far outsells OS X, so clearly Windows is far better than OS X
Android devices far outsell iOS devices, so clearly Android is much more desirable than iOS
And on and on.

When people start lining up to buy thick phones instead of iPhones, Apple might change course

People can't buy thicker iPhones because there are no such choices. Roll out an iPhone 6 at- say- the thickness of the iPhone 5s and cram that space with battery to deliver a benefit of better battery life and see what people choose. Even in this thread, you can see lots of people longing for battery life instead of "thinner". How do we get thinner? By shrinking the thing that takes up most of the space inside the iPhone. What is that? The battery. How can we shrink the battery? By engineering more energy efficiency into the chips. What's that get us? The spin of "thinnest" with "about the same battery life". How about: "just as thin as the iPhone 5s with double the battery life"? Which would we rather have "even thinner" or "double the battery life"?
Rating: 5 Votes
70 months ago
I am betting $1000 monopoly dollars on multiples of un-even backlighting return post!
Rating: 5 Votes
70 months ago
can we just get OLED already. Jeez.
Rating: 5 Votes
70 months ago
I would really love if that Apple logo glowed for notifications.

You know some indicator that you have a notification
Rating: 5 Votes

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