IGZO (Indium gallium zinc oxide) panels allow for high resolution displays to be compact, energy efficient and cheaper to manufacture. While Sharp had started manufacturing such displays earlier this year, its ability to deliver to Apple’s scale (hundreds of millions of devices in a year) and its troubled financial state are both issues of concern for Apple.
From Digitimes’ report:
Apple is reportedly further evaluating how much IGZO panel supply will be available in 2013 if it were to use the technology in its next generation iPad, iPad mini and iPhone products, according to industry sources.
The sources said Apple is in further discussions with Sharp over IGZO panel production capacity estimates for 2013 and is also inquiring about whether AU Optronics’ (AUO) L5C line could be used to produce the technology.
The pixels in IGZO panels can be smaller than usual displays, which Apple would find useful in the rumored Retina iPad mini. Additionally, rumors also say that Apple’s investigating the use of IGZO panels in its full-blown television.
Apple’s earlier plans of using IGZO panels in the iPad 3 didn’t work out, the reason said to be Sharp’s failure to meet to Apple’s requirements.