Apple's iPhone 5 is expected for a release date this fall, and another indication that production is in full swing has surfaced. Japan's Sharp Corp. will begin shipping screens that will be used for the upcoming iPhone 5, according to Reuters.
"Shipments will begin in August," Sharp President Takashi Okuda said in a press briefing in Tokyo on Thursday, the news wire service reported. He did not specify any shipments beyond this month.
Sharp is one of the three companies expected to build the screen for Apple's iPhone 5 and was officially identified as a supplier last year. The company did not specify to Reuters on its relationship with the Cupertino, Calif.-based company or what the screens would be used for, but it is highly predicted that they will end up on the iPhone 5. The other two suppliers of the display panels are LG Display Co Ltd and Japan Display Inc.
Sharp recently posted its quarterly report, which included a first-quarter operating loss of nearly $1.76 billion and 5,000 job cuts by next March, according to Venture Beat. The company currently projects a $3.18 billion loss for the fiscal year that ends in March 2013, which is up from a previously predicted $3.82 million. Sharp was also caught in the LCD price-fixing scandal, which involved a $114 million antitrust settlement and an additional settlement to Dell and two other companies for approximately $200 million.
In the wake of Samsung's Galaxy S3 release, the Korea-based manufacturer's flagship smartphone for 2012, Apple is giving the iPhone 5 a boost in screen size. The Galaxy S3 is equipped with a 4.8-inch touch screen, and the current iPhone 4S, which has a 3.5-inch screen.
Sources have previously told Reuters that the iPhone 5 will feature a 4-inch display, which is 30 percent bigger than current-generation iPhones. These screens are also said to be thinner than previous models that incorporated in-cell panel technology. The iPhone 5 will reportedly embed sensors into the liquid crystal display, which eliminates the touch-screen layer in the current iPhones.
Recent rumors that have circulated at the end of July have indicated that production of the iPhone 5 is in full swing in Shanghai. A Digitimes report from Taipei said that the city's Pegatron has begun manufacturing the product, echoing a similar claim made by a Japanese blog earlier in July. The same Taiwanese source cited by Digitimes added that the Shanghai factory is expected to see a decrease in notebook sales in the third quarter. However, orders for the iPhone 5 are said to compensate for this decrease.
Apple is expected to make a major announcement on Sept. 12, and critics and fans alike are speculating that it will be the iPhone 5. The company is also rumored to debut its alleged iPad Mini on that same day, but the tight-lipped company has yet to confirm this information. The rumors also indicate that these items will launch nine days after the unveiling on Sept. 21.
But the most recent speculation to surface is that the iPhone 5 will reportedly cost $800. The phrase "iPhone 5 $800" trended on Twitter all day on Thursday, leaving Apple fans to wonder if this is truly the price of the iPhone 5. A string of confused, surprised and somewhat sarcastic tweets from users ensued.
"It better be bulletproof, water proof, damage proof, dirt proof and also fireproof. Siri better twerk on demand too," one user @JAMESSEEKINGS_ tweeted on Thursday.
"iPhone 5 $800? When dropped. It better catch itself," a parody fan page of comedian Katt Williams posted.
Although these abilities are not meant to be taken seriously, here is a list of features fans do expect to see in the iPhone 5, courtesy of Computer World:
- 4-inch display
- Improved quad-core processor, likely manufactured using 32nm process tech
- Improved graphics and a better camera
- New Dock connection, likely to be Thunderbolt or mini-USB
- Tougher glass
- Thinner chassis
- International support for those 4G/LTE networks which exist
- Much-improved iCloud integration
- iOS 6: many improvements in Siri
- iOS 6: Apple Maps
- iOS 6: Passbook, potentially though not necessarily featuring NFC payment support
- iOS 6: Facebook and Twitter integration
Apple has yet to confirm the release date or price for its next iPhone 5.