News / Economy

Apple iPhone 6 Screen Snag Leaves Supply Chain Scrambling

FILE - The leaf on the Apple symbol is tinted green at the Apple flagship store on 5th Ave in New York, April 22, 2014.FILE - The leaf on the Apple symbol is tinted green at the Apple flagship store on 5th Ave in New York, April 22, 2014.
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FILE - The leaf on the Apple symbol is tinted green at the Apple flagship store on 5th Ave in New York, April 22, 2014.
FILE - The leaf on the Apple symbol is tinted green at the Apple flagship store on 5th Ave in New York, April 22, 2014.
Reuters

Suppliers to Apple Inc. are scrambling to get enough screens ready for the new iPhone 6 smartphone as the need to redesign a key component disrupted panel production ahead of next month's expected launch, supply chain sources said.

It's unclear whether the hiccup could delay the launch or limit the number of phones initially available to consumers, the sources said, as Apple readies larger-screen iPhones for the year-end shopping season amid market share loss to cheaper rivals.

Risks and challenges

But the issue highlights the risks and challenges that suppliers face to meet Apple's tough specifications, and comes on the heels of a separate screen technology problem, since resolved, in making thinner screens for the larger iPhone 6 model.

Cupertino, California-based Apple has scheduled a media event for Sept. 9, and many expect it to unveil the new iPhone 6 with both 4.7 inch (11.94 cm) and 5.5 inch (13.97 cm) screens - bigger than the 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5s and 5c.

Two supply chain sources said display panel production suffered a setback after the backlight that helps illuminate the screen had to be revised, putting screen assembly on hold for part of June and July. One said Apple, aiming for the thinnest phone possible, initially wanted to cut back to a single layer of backlight film, instead of the standard two layers, for the 4.7-inch screen, which went into mass production ahead of the 5.5-inch version.

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