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TSMC Said to Begin Exclusive Production of A10 Chip for iPhone 7 in March 2016

Less than a week after the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus were announced, the overseas supply chain is reportedly already preparing for production and component certification ahead of the iPhone 7. Taiwan-based China Times reports (via G4Games) that Apple supplier TSMC has secured exclusive orders for the A10 chip based on a 16-nanometer manufacturing process. The report claims TSMC will begin mass production of the A10 chip in March 2016 ahead of the iPhone 7 launching in the fourth quarter. TSMC is also expected to start ordering more parts for the iPhone 7 in the second quarter of 2016. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are powered by Apple's new A9 chip, which is believed to be manufactured by both TSMC and Samsung, while the iPad Pro features a more powerful A9X processor. The report adds that TSMC will continue producing the A8 chip, which is found inside the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, sixth-generation iPod touch and the new Apple TV launching in late

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

More Durable Touch ID Sensors for iPhone 6, iPad Air, and iPad Mini Coming From TSMC

A report from China Times (via GforGames) claims Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is expanding its 8-inch chip plant in order to produce Touch ID sensors for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. TSMC is planning to produce 120 million Touch ID units in 2014, a 233 percent year over year increase as the sensor expands beyond the flagship iPhone to other iOS devices. In line with a previous report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, today's report claims Apple and TSMC are using tin to increase the durability of the sensor compared to the current version found in the iPhone 5s. Supply chain sources say TSMC is scaling its mass production of new Touch ID units to begin delivery to Apple by early July, with third quarter production more than doubling over the previous quarter. A previous report had indicated that the first shipments of new Touch ID sensors began by early May, but these may still have been early batches for testing. Similar to the iPhone's Touch ID, the iPad version will support the expanded functionality made possible by iOS 8's new SDK that allows third-party apps to access the fingerprint scanner for verification purposes. Touch ID also is rumored to be part of a mobile payment system under development by Apple. Recent leaks hint at how the next-generation iPad Air and iPad Mini may appear with a Touch ID module and other design refinements such as a changed speaker grille and recessed volume

TPK to Reportedly Supply Flexible AMOLED Panels For Apple's iWatch

Apple may be choosing TPK as a touch panel supplier for its rumored iWatch, says a report in China Times (Via Digitimes). The Taiwan-based company will supposedly begin mass production of flexible AMOLED panels for the iWatch in the second half of 2014. The report said the iWatch will come equipped with a flexible AMOLED display and 3D protective glass. The rumors also speculated that the iWatch will use silver nanowire touch screen technology developed by TPK in conjunction with Japan-based Nissha Printing. The rumor suggests Apple will use silver nanowire touch screen technology in the iWatch display. Current flat touch panels use indium tin oxide (ITO), which is brittle and not suitable for a flexible display. Silver nanowires, however, are nanometers thin and can be applied to a 3D curved glass surface, like a watch band in a solution-based, roll-to- printing technique. The silver wire matrix is transparent to the eye and conductive, making silver nanowires perfect for a flexible touchsreen display. Last year, TPK signed a deal with Japanese firm Nissha Printing to start producing silver nanowire touchscreen displays. Production will ramp up in Q2 2014, with a manufacturing output of two million 6-inch touch panels per month. TPK is among the world's top touch panel manufacturers by volume and has been supplying Apple with panels for several years. The Taiwanese company was one of the primary suppliers of the touchscreen for the original iPad and provided up to 80% of the panels for the iPhone 4S

iPhone 5S to Include Both Fingerprint Sensor and NFC?

China Times reports [Google translation, via Mac Otakara] that Taiwanese chip firm Chipbond has been selected to provide a number of components for the iPhone 5S, including the touch display driver as well as chips to support fingerprint sensor and near field communications (NFC) capabilities. The report suggests that Apple will use the fingerprint sensor functionality to enhance the security of NFC features such as mobile payments. Rumors of fingerprint sensor technology for the iPhone have ramped up since Apple's acquisition of mobile security firm AuthenTec last year. AuthenTec has been rumored to be cutting off its fingerprint sensor customers this year, presumably to focus on supporting Apple's own efforts in the area. Reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also stated that a fingerprint sensor will be one of the differentiating features for the iPhone 5S. NFC has been a long-standing rumor for the iPhone, and evidence supporting its inclusion for the iPhone 5 failed to pan out amid claims that the device's design wouldn't even accommodate an NFC antenna. Some have suggested, however, that Apple could have novel plans up its sleeve for deploying NFC within the mostly metal case of the iPhone 5 that will presumably carry over to the iPhone 5S. Still, specific claims of NFC for the iPhone 5S have been essentially non-existent until now. Last July, it was reported that Apple was deliberately moving slowly into the mobile payments field that could tie in closely to NFC technology. For the time being, Apple is focusing on its Passbook app to offer

More Claims of Apple Using Qualcomm's Snapdragon Chips for Lower-Cost iPhone

Earlier this year, analysts from Detwiler Fenton claimed that Apple's rumored lower-cost iPhone would use a Snapdragon chip from Qualcomm rather than one of Apple's own A-series chips, arguing that the ability to integrate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi directly into the main chip would allow Apple to save on costs. China Times (spotted and translated by Japanese blog Mac Otakara) now cites an unnamed source making the same claim. The report says that TSMC has been contracted to produce the Snapdragon chip using its 28-nanometer process. The report also suggests that another cost-saving measure for the low-cost handset would be to offer 3G only, rather than LTE. There are separate versions of Snapdragon with 3G and LTE, giving Apple the option of either mobile data technology. From a Google translation of the original China Times article:Supply Chain Industry revealed that Apple's low-cost iPhone uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon single-chip, initially only support 3G without support for 4G LTE single-chip native support for WiFi and Bluetooth wireless networking capability, so do not need to increase the wireless network mode group. Of this chip commissioned TSMC foundry to 28 nm.As we noted when this rumor surfaced the last time, Apple would seem much more likely to simply use older generations of its existing chip lineup in a cheaper iPhone in order to save on costs, and reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that Apple will do exactly that by using the current A6 chip in the lower-cost iPhone while moving on to a more powerful A7 chip in the iPhone

Constraints on iMac Shipments Soon to End, Claim Parts Suppliers

Recent production problems with the 2012 iMac have largely been solved, suggesting that supply constraints may ease, according to a report from China Times, summarized by BrightWire.- [T]he company's Taiwanese component suppliers noted that the assembling conformity rate for the new iMac has been improved and mass production started in December 2012. Sales of the device may be boosted in 1Q 2013. - As new products will usually see orders peak within the first four months after they are launched, the shipments of the new iMac are expected to remain stable through 1Q 2013. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted in last week's analyst call that iMac shipments would remain constrained through Q1, with the company giving this as a large part of the reason for selling 1.1 million fewer Macs in Q4 2012 compared to Q4 2011. Currently 27-inch iMacs are showing delivery times of 3-4 weeks, with 21.5-inch models showing 2-3

Apple Rumored to Debut 4.8-Inch 'iPhone Math' in June

According to new information from the China Times translated by BrightWire, Apple is planning to release the iPhone 5S alongside a larger phone, deemed the "iPhone Math" by the report. Because the iPhone Math name is highly unusual and does not fit in with Apple's traditional naming scheme, it is not clear if it is a code name or a potential mistranslation, although the actual "iPhone Math" terms appears in English in the China Times report. China Times says that the larger phone will come equipped with a 4.8-inch screen and an 8-megapixel camera. It is said that it will launch in June alongside an updated iPhone 5, which will also feature an 8-megapixel camera. An additional iPhone update is said to be coming during the holiday season, with a 12-megapixel camera. Though the report contains detailed information on suppliers, manufacturers, and production times, it is difficult to believe that Apple will produce a bigger iPhone and that the company will release two iPhones in a six month time frame.The shipments for components, including touchscreens and cameras, will start rising significantly in March, and iPhone manufacturers will begin production in late April. Hence, Apple's suppliers will see major growth in 2Q 2013. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. will undertake 90% of the manufacturing orders, and Largan has received orders for 8 million camera lenses. Fujikura, Flexium and Zhen Ding will share production orders for printed circuit boards. Foxconn Technology and Coxon will provide molding parts for Apple's new models; Foxlink will continue to

Apple Rumored to Be Testing New 'Touch on Display' Technology for Next iPhone

According to a rumor from The China Times [Google translation], Apple is planning to adopt new touch panels with "Touch on Display" technology for the next iteration of the iPhone. The panels, which have been developed by Apple supplier Innolux, are said to be in testing at the moment. Apple's iPhone 5 incorporated a display that uses in-cell technology, and it has been reported that problems with the recognition of rapid diagonal swiping on the screen are due to the display. That may be one reason Apple is looking at new touch panel technology. The China Times concurs, pointing to the slow response speed of the iPhone 5's touch panels along with interference issues as the deciding factor behind the switch. There isn't much information available about the Touch On Display panels, but they are said to be thin and tough, with a thickness of 0.5mm and improved optical performance and sensitivity. The new display would presumably be used in Apple's iPhone 5S, which could be entering production as early as the first quarter of 2013. Rumors about the next-generation iPhone are already surfacing, with a report earlier this week claiming that the iPhone may launch in mid–2013 in several different colors and sizes, and a leaked photo in December of what might be the rear shell of the next

Apple Reportedly Planning Orders for 65-70 Million iPad 3 Displays in 2012

Electronista reports on a new article [Google translation] from Taiwan's Commercial Times claiming that Apple is planning for production of 65-70 million iPad 3 displays in 2012, paving the way for a significant boost to Apple's tablet sales.Shipments for the new LCD panel, believed designed by Sharp but being manufactured by LG Display and Samsung, were said by the Commercial Times to be already booked to the order of 65 million to 75 [70] million units for the year. Versus production of about 40.5 million in 2011, it would represent 60 to 73 percent higher shipments than last year.That 65-70 million number includes only iPad 3 displays, and with Apple having nearly one quarter's worth of iPad 2 sales ahead of the iPad 3 introduction and the company being rumored to continue offering the iPad 2 as a lower-cost option following the iPad 3's introduction, Apple's total iPad sales projections for the year appear to b even

Apple Reportedly Pressures Pegatron into Ceasing ASUS Zenbook Production

Digitimes reports on an article from Taiwanese newspaper Commerical Times claiming that Apple manufacturing partner Pegatron has ended its relationship with ASUS for production of the Zenbook under pressure from Apple. According to the report, Apple is displeased with the similarity in appearance between ASUS's Zenbook and the MacBook Air and forced Pegatron's hand with an ultimatum stating that Pegatron needed to choose one company or the other.Apple reportedly was unhappy about Pegatron's production of Asustek's Zenbook models, which are similar to its MacBook Air, especially in its outer design, and therefore, demand Pegatron make a choice, claimed the paper, which added that Pegatron began to assemble iPhones for Apple in 2011 and is eager to solicit orders for next-generation iPads from the vendor.Pegatron will reportedly wind down production of the Zenbook by next month as ASUS is forced to switch over to Compal or Wistron for manufacturing.

iPhone 5 Launching in Second Week of September? iPad 3 Later?

The China Times pinpoints the iPhone 5 release to the second week of September with an initial order of 4 million units. Suppliers are said to be currently preparing 400,000 trial run units. The news report also reports that the next iPad may be delayed until Thanksgiving due to component shortages. A mid September launch lines up nicely with current expectations for the iPhone 5 release. Apple has held an iPod media event in September for the past 3 years. With no iPhone release during this year's WWDC, Apple is expected to include the iPhone launch at this September event alongside the public release of iOS 5. There's been some debate about what features the iPhone 5 will include. Recently leaked case designs have shown some major design changes, while other sources have said the iPhone 5 will look largely like the iPhone 4. The China Times has had a hit or miss record with Apple-related rumors, though they do seem close to Apple's suppliers in China and may certainly have knowledge of their production plans. Reuters had previously also reported the iPhone 5 would see a September release with production beginning in July.

Foxconn to Suppliers: iPad 2 Production (and Next iPhone?) Will Not Be Delayed Due to Explosion

Photo via MIC Gadget Beyond the obvious human toll of last week's Foxconn factory explosion, there's been speculation about how the incident may affect Apple's iPad 2 production. Some analysts have already suggested that the production impact should be minimal, but now China Times is reporting more definitively that the iPad would not be affected based on comments from Foxconn to suppliers. Sources said the explosion at Foxconn Technology Group’s Chengdu plant did not affect the assembly line of iPad. Foxconn assured major suppliers at an online meeting yesterday that under the principle of “orders placed and goods delivered as usual”, the production of iPad 2 would not be delayed and related iPhone devices and new iPad products would still be in mass production in the third quarter. "Related iPhone devices and new iPad products" appears to be sufficiently vague, but Apple, of course, is expected to launch a new iPhone around September this year which is likely to be manufactured by Foxconn. The explosion which rocked Foxconn's factory on Friday night killed 3 people and left 15 injured. Apple has issued a statement expressing their condolences to the victims and family and that they are investigating the event.

iPhone 5 Due in Q3, 4-Inch Screen, Metal Chassis?

China Times reports (via GadgetsDNA) that the iPhone 5 has entered trial production and is due for production in the 3rd Quarter of this year. Other details from the Chinese newspaper seem to echo previous rumors that the new iPhone 5 will have a metal chassis to improve antenna sensitivity as well as a 4-inch touch screen. Screenshot of iPhone 5 Parts video from January Many of the rumors so far seem to be pointing to an iPhone 4-like frame for the new iPhone 5. Looking back at old rumors, an iPhone 5 parts video that surfaced back in January may have actually been an early look at the iPhone 5 casing (photo above). That video actually first revealed the new antenna dividers found on the Verizon iPhone, but also included a SIM card slot that does not appear in the Verizon iPhone. It's believed that the iPhone 5 may support both CDMA and GSM networks in one phone. The Verizon iPhone has already been found to use a Qualcomm chip that can support both