Sharp Electronics fed into speculation that Apple's fifth-generation iPhone will launch this fall, confiming that it will start shipping the LCD screens to be used for the new device sometime this month.
Sharp President Takashi Okuda made the announcement during a briefing in Tokyo yesterday, providing a rare glimpse into the production time line for the new phone, which has been kept tightly under wraps by Apple, reports Reuters.
"Shipments will start in August," Okuda said, declining to provide further details or an exact date.
Apple named Sharp one of its official LCD suppliers last year, but LG Display and Japan Display also are expected to be producing screens for the upcoming iPhone.
The new smartphone is widely anticipated to hit shelves this October, a release date that would place it in consumers' hands in time for the holiday shopping season. Apple reportedly will first debut the new device during a major product launch event on Sept. 12.
Speculation regarding the latest iPhone's design and technical features has been circulating for months, with rumors of a bigger screen being the most widespread. The new phone is widely expected to launch with a 4-inch display, a design update that would equip it with a half-inch more screen real estate compared to the four prior iPhones.
Sharp made Thursday's iPhone announcement on the heels of reporting bleak first-quarter earnings results, with a total operating loss of $US1.2 billion for the three-month period, down significantly from the $US44.7 million in profit it reported during the same quarter last year.
The Japanese electronics giant said sales were especially down in its LCD panel and its audio-visual and communication equipment business segments.
Sharp also said it faced increased competition in the smartphone market from "overseas handset makers" during the quarter. Apple and Samsung currently dominate the smartphone space, with industry research firm Strategy Analytics pegging them as collectively accounting for 53 percent of the worldwide market.
To help cut down on operational costs, Sharp revealed plans to cut nearly 5,000 employees from its workforce between now and March, slashing its total global headcount from 56,756 to 51,700.
This article originally appeared at crn.com
Issue: 315 | May 2013
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