Apple recently confirmed that it is allocating approximately $4 billion dollars for “inventory component prepayments and capital expenditures.” Analysts are betting the cash will be spent on revamped display technology and in particular, retina display technology.
Retina display, currently used in the iPhone 4 and various high end TVs is an emerging technology that Apple plans to advance.
Market research firm iSuppli believes Apple is putting the money to “guarantee availability of advanced liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels for its iPad and iPhone lines.”
iSuppli explained Apple has already signed deals with LG, Sharp, and Toshiba Mobile to develop and integrate various display components like in-plane switching and low-temperature polysilicon displays into its lineup of products.
Cupertino is even helping to construct factories capable of manufacturing the rapidly evolving technology.
iSuppli analyst Vinita Jakhanwal notes that by investing in display technology, Apple could grab a major share of global output of IPS LCD and LTPS LCD panels, which would likely have major implications for the company if it ever choose to get even more serious about the TV sector.
“In the era of the iPad and iPhone, the user interface – particularly the display and touch screen – has become the most critical competitive differentiator for tablets and smart phones,” noted Jakhanwal.
“With sales of smart phones booming, and a flood of new entrants into the tablet market this year, competition among original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for available supplies of high-end small and medium displays has reached a fever pitch, straining availability of critical types of displays. Because of this, Apple has moved to invest some its enormous cash reserve in securing the supply of advanced displays.”