Low Retina iPad Mini Production Reportedly Due to Burn-In Issue on Sharp's Display Panels

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Last week, a report from Japanese business newspaper Nikkei shed light on the production issues surrounding the forthcoming Retina iPad mini, stating that Apple is now turning to rival Samsung as suppliers Sharp and LG Display have failed to produce an ample supply of displays for the new tablet. Now, a report from Korean website ETNews (via Unwired View) has elaborated on the matter, with Sharp's IGZO panels for the Retina iPad mini said to be suffering from screen burn-in issues.

While the burn-in issue is reportedly invisible to users, the panels do not meet Apple's specifications and thus the high rejection rate has resulted in low panel yields for the tablet. As noted in a report earlier this week analyzing the new iPad Air's use of IGZO technology, Sharp has experienced difficulties ramping up production of its IGZO panels in the past, with it taking until now for Apple to bring the technology to its products.

The burn-in problem was caused by the drastic reduction of the pixel size. The resolution of the 7.9-inch iPad mini with Retina display is 2048×1536, about four times clearer than the existing 1024×768 products. LG Display used the amorphous silicon (a-Si) for the substrate, whereas Sharp used IGZO. The pixel of the smartphone display is smaller than that of the iPad mini Retina panel, but as the Low Temperature Polycrystalline Silicon (LTPS) technology is used, it can be produced stably. The pixel of the iPad mini Retina is the smallest among those products using a-Si. Sharp failed to solve the chronic problem of IGZO, i.e. uniformity, and its yield went down.
The report also elaborates on how Apple may be negotiating with Samsung to produce displays for the device starting next year, turning back to its rival in part due to Samsung's experience solving a similar problem with third-generation iPad's move to a Retina display.
Apple is negotiating with Samsung Display for the supply of displays starting next year. Apple discussed cooperation with Samsung Display when it was planning on the iPad mini Retina. AUO, which was the iPad mini display supplier, was excluded from the retina version because of its yield problem. Apple was planning to receive 15 million panels from LG Display, Sharp and Samsung Display at the end of this year. However, as the negotiation with Samsung Display fell through, only LG Display and Sharp made it to the final list of primary suppliers.
If the issue of screen burn-in persists, the report also states that Apple may move to LTPS technology such as that seen in the Kindle Fire HDX, as it is less prone to the problem. However, while LTPS is commonly used on displays for smaller devices such as the iPhone, Apple is unlikely to mass produce the displays for larger screens in part due to scalability issues that simply won't support the tens of millions of tablets that the company is producing each year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook stated last week during the company's fourth quarter earnings call that it was "unclear whether we will have enough for the quarter or not," as the company has only promised that the tablet will arrive by the the end of November. As noted by Apple during the introduction of the second-generation iPad mini, a Retina display has been one of the most requested features for the smaller iPad since its release last year.

Update: MacRumors spoke with Ray Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies, who noted that LG is almost certainly not using a-Si for its Retina iPad mini display panels due to significant power issues with trying to drive a display of that pixel density using the technology. The company has also been shipping its own IGZO display panels for some time now, and Soneira pointed out that "it would be very inefficient to engineer the iPad mini to ship using two significantly different display technologies."

Soneira also clarified that "burn-in" is the incorrect term for what would be happening with these LCDs. It would be a short-term image retention issue perhaps similar to what some early Retina MacBook Pro users experienced, although it appears in this case that the effect is invisible to users.

Article Link: Low Retina iPad Mini Production Reportedly Due to Burn-In Issue on Sharp's Display Panels
 

Razeus

macrumors 603
Jul 11, 2008
5,256
1,926
I got a feeling I'm going to need to stay away from this one and wait for Mini Retina 2.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,664
370
Hopefully Apple gets their screen quality/yields up on all their product lines, including the rMBP!
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,030
14,844
Central U.S.
Just as long as the issue isn't anywhere near as bad as it was on my 2012 Retina MacBook Pro (before Apple swapped the screen). Or my early 2011 iPad 2 which developed that issue over time near the top and bottom of the screen when in landscape. It's faint on my late 2012 27" iMac at work, but I deal with that. Apple really needs to get their crap together with their displays. Though it seems like the iPhone displays are always so good.
 

Tiger8

macrumors 68020
May 23, 2011
2,479
649
So chances are Retina mini will not make it for Christmas this year.
 

Santabean2000

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2007
1,795
1,814
Samsung to the rescue... Apple's best worst friend. Or worst best friend? However you cut the cake, Samsung have some technical know-how; anything you can do, we can copy it better!
 

DTphonehome

macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2003
1,781
2,347
NYC
This implies that there will be screens of differing technologies floating around. Really surprised Apple couldn't get this issue resolved earlier in the development cycle… it's clear there's huge demand for these, and hi-res 7" tablets have been on the market for a while now. You'd think Apple would have seen this coming. Now they're going to miss out on a LOT of holiday sales.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,534
25,264
If the burn-in is invisible to users, why is it a problem?
Because it happens. My father's dog, bless its soul, was riddled with cancer. You wouldn't have been able to tell; she was bouncy, lively, and cute as a button. But it was still there, and I couldn't go on knowing that.

I'll admit, that's a bit of an extreme simile. Perhaps Jobs' 'wood you'll never see at the back of a cupboard' would have been more apt.
 

puma1552

Suspended
Nov 20, 2008
5,559
1,945
IGZOgate. Between the poor tints on the iPad Air and the not-released-but-already-bad screens on the mini retina, IGZO sounds like it just isn't mature enough for market yet, unfortunately.
 

jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
3,679
3,465
The thick of it
I'm unclear why Apple can't simply use the current retina display technology that they developed for the iPad Air. The Mini screen is slightly smaller, so more of the displays could be produced (almost two for every one of the Air). The technology is stable and the resolution seems fine, a big gain over the current iPad Mini. Introduce the more advanced screen technologies when their suppliers work out the problems. It seems like it would be more important to just get the product on the shelves. Most consumers probably wouldn't notice the difference between the Air screen and the slightly higher res IGZO display of the Mini anyway.
 

WilliamLondon

macrumors 68000
Dec 8, 2006
1,699
13
If the burn-in is invisible to users, why is it a problem?
Exactly, but not only that, Apple's standards aren't being met (as the article clearly states), which means that those problems with the screens do *not* even make it to the device (they are being rejected, a la the "high rejection rate" stated in the article!), but that doesn't seem to satisfy all the chicken littles around here declaring the sky is indeed falling because a pea fell on the other side of the world.
 

iHateLaggyStuff

macrumors member
Oct 30, 2013
30
0
Reading through all the armchair critics' comments make me LOL. I bet all of you know more about supplies than Apple and especially Tim Cook who is arguably the best supply manager in the industry. :rolleyes:
 

BeyondtheTech

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2007
2,124
632
I don't think I'd mind so much if I get a working unit now, then opt for a warranty or recall replacement within a year.
 

KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
15,390
3,834
I say the retina iPad Mini won't be release until early next year...
I disagree. This doesn't say that production has stopped, or that there won't be any. It could just explain why it is launching at the end of November instead of at the beginning. Also, Sharp isn't the only supplier. LG is making screens, as well. It could be hard to get, but there should be some available this Christmas.
 

wilhelmer

macrumors member
Sep 12, 2011
82
148
[Apple]: The iPad mini Retina will be legen- ... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
... wait for it ...
[Customer]: meh.
 

netnothing

macrumors 68040
Mar 13, 2007
3,676
306
NH
Exactly, but not only that, Apple's standards aren't being met (as the article clearly states), which means that those problems with the screens do *not* even make it to the device (they are being rejected, a la the "high rejection rate" stated in the article!), but that doesn't seem to satisfy all the chicken littles around here declaring the sky is indeed falling because a pea fell on the other side of the world.
Take a look back at iPad 3 screen issues and even the new iPad Air screen issues (because the Air uses the new technology).....even Apple is letting some issues through. I'm guessing that a screen has to be REALLY bad to be rejected, otherwise it makes it.

Don't for a minute think Apple is all high and mighty and only releases the best of the best....they are like any other company and are trying to pump out as many "acceptable" devices as possible.

-Kevin
 

Bare

macrumors regular
Jun 17, 2008
182
6
Apple has high standards, and that's okay with me.

It probably helps that I have the Air to tide me over while they work this out.
 
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