Retina Display Bottleneck Causing Delay?
The shortage of iPhone 4s as launch day approaches is due to limited supplies of the new Retina display, according to an industry analyst's report. CNET
quotes Ashok Kumar, managing director and senior technology analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, as saying that a "production bottleneck" in the IPS LCD screen
may continue to late summer. Meanwhile, customers continue to report emails from AT&T telling them that their iPhone 4 pre-orders have been canceled.
In the snowballing EPIC FAIL that is the iPhone 4 rollout, there has been a lot of blame to go around. Server issues were responsible for delay and confusion when the new iPhone first went on sale last Tuesday, and AT&T stopped taking orders early Wednesday due to overwhelming demand. As the rush continued, black iPhones were no longer available for launch day, with ship dates pushed back first to July 2nd and then to July 14th. White iPhones are reported to be delayed to later this summer or even to 2011
. It's unclear how long third party retailers will have to wait for supplies, as neither RadioShack nor Best Buy is saying when they will have iPhone 4s in stock. An AT&T rep told a MMi user that Best Buy will not have any iPhones by launch day.
Kumar wrote in a letter to his clients that his "supply chain checks indicate that our earlier monthly shipment estimate of 4 million units have been reset by about half," blaming difficulty with the LCD manufacturing at LG Display, which makes the Retina display for Apple. By late summer, according to Kumar, LG will have upgraded their plants to new fifth-generation technology that will allow them to cut more screens from larger panels.
Apple will probably do fine if they can get supplies up in a few weeks: many if not most of the people who have placed pre-orders will want an iPhone 4 and only
an iPhone 4. If shortages continue, though, expect increasing numbers of potential iPhone buyers to start looking at other high-end smartphones like the HTC EVO and the upcoming Droid X.