Apple will reportedly be a co-investor with Japan Display (JDI) for a new panel display plant that is set to start construction in 2016, according to a new report from Taiwan-based Apple Daily that cited Japan media reports.
The report did not specify how much Apple would put forth but that it would be “mainly responsible” for the estimated US$1.68 billion plant set to be located in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.
Construction would break ground by early to mid-2016 and would most likely be completed by 2018. The move would come under a mutual investment in which JDI would be responsible for providing oversight and continuing R&D for panel technology used in Apple’s products, the report said.
We here at Mac Pokies were thrilled when we came across this news over the last day or so as we have been recently writing extensively on the importance for Apple investing in its own panel facilities. The company has faced continuing supply issues for its iPhone and iPad devices over the years as Apple’s two main suppliers LG Display and Samsung Display have often given priority to their own products.
Having a dedicated line for Apple would most likely be meant to supply iPhone and iPad panel supply. However, more rumors are generating in the market that Apple will release its own iTV and will most likely mass produce electric vehicles by 2020.
For the iTV, Apple is expected to release 4K units sized 55 and 65 inches. Meanwhile, the reported Apple Car is expected to come equipped with several built-in displays both on the dashboard and throughout the seating arrangement much like the Tesla, which would increase the amount of panel supply needed.
JDI, which currently is a leading panel supplier over other competitors such as Sharp in Japan, would be a secure partner for Apple as well, as JDI’s performance remains steady and its production yields are high. Apple however may still push Foxconn to invest in Sharp panel production facilities in order to secure a more established panel supply chain but such developments have been unsteady over the last year and appear to be fading from coming to reality.
We also think that as home connectivity grows in the market the demand for new display applications for appliances such as refrigerators will grow. There might always be a chance that as the IoT market grows Apple will think of additional products that will require displays so it may not be unlikely that such a possible investment may fulfill such potential demand but time will tell.