Shifting Apple product specifications to heap pressure on Taiwan manufacturers

Shifting Apple product specifications to heap pressure on Taiwan manufacturers

TAIPEI - Taiwan's panel suppliers may be pressured by design changes in Apple's upcoming products, with the US-based company adopting alternative display specifications, according to reports.

Shipping volume of handset and tablet computer panels are expected to see a respective 19- and 28-per cent decline in the third quarter compared to the previous period, said industry research institute Digitimes Research.

Apple is poised to adopt advanced display panels for its upcoming new smartphone handsets and tablet computers, reportedly drawing supply from Japan-based manufacturers, marking a departure from the glass-glass substrate capacitive touch screen solutions offered by Taiwanese companies.

Reports indicate that Apple is set to adopt Japan-made In-Cell, and indium tin oxide (ITO) coated display panels for the company's upcoming products to be released this fall.

With Apple's current products nearing the end of their life cycles, including market mainstays such as the iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, and the 9.7-inch early generation iPads, Taiwan-based panel suppliers are poised to be affected by the switch.

The report also indicated that Taiwan's shipment of touch-enabled laptop computer displays is likely to experience a 2.1-per cent decline, despite the efforts of manufacturers to launch low-cost touch-enabled models following tepid market reception during the introduction phase of products installed with the Windows 8 operating system.

Taiwan's touch panel industry is likely to be sustained by demand of non-Apple product offerings, including the Amazon's Kindle Fire, and Google's Nexus 7 tablet computer - two 7-inch landmark products still featuring one-glass-solution (OGS) touch displays. However, Taiwan's OGS suppliers will face Chinese competitors such as Laibo, and Lensonesz. Concurrently, Lenovo has adopted the metal mesh touch panel display technology offered by a Chinese maker, applying further pressure on Taiwanese companies.

China is poised to command over 50 per cent of the world's supply of laptop touch screen panels, while commanding a 10-per cent global market share of touch-screen equipped laptops, according to Digitimes Research.

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