A few years back, Apple was tipped to be fronting Sharp a cool $1 billion to retool its existing Kameyama mobile display plant for the high-res displays of the future. Subsequently, Sharp ran into huge financial troubles, and its good but expensive LTPS and other panels never made it en masse to iPhones and iPads, so Apple's investment was in the end said to be around $100 million in total.
acquire Sharp for the no-less cool $3.8 billion. The struggling Japanese company will thus be folded in the sprawling conglomerate of the flamboyant CEO Terry Gou, but not for its excellent phones with the best screen-to-body ratio that are only sold in Japan.Fast forward to today, and Apple's iPhone assembler, Foxconn, finally got the green light from the Chinese authorities to
In fact, the display know-how of Sharp will reportedly help Foxconn fulfill the future needs of its master Apple, and the rumored shift to OLED displays for the 2017 iPhone, and probably the subsequent ones. Sharp has been rumored to work with Apple on OLED display tech for a while, but for now it doesn't have the money and scale to produce them in mass numbers with the price and quality that Samsung or LG would offer, so it lookс like Apple might stick with Samsung for next year's "disruptive" iPhone edition.
With Foxconn's production facilities, and Apple's money, however, those three might crack the OLED code all on their own, so that Apple can reduce its part supply dependence on its chief rival in the smartphone realm. Sharp is also holding patents on its IGZO display technology, which is very frugal, and allows Sharp phones to easily last two days on a charge, yet is available in 4K mobile screens, so there is plenty of benefits to look forward to from that acquisition.