Apple secures first move advantage on display tech with $3.9 billion investment

LG, Sharp and Toshiba gain capital boost

Apple secures first move advantage on display tech with $3.9 billion investment
Analysts might talk up the frankly fantastic possibility of Apple buying Disney, EA or any other major company you can think of, but in reality, tapping up the technology behind its hardware seems a much greater priority.

Somewhat more solid speculation suggests that the $3.9 billion COO Tim Cook recently said will be spent on component pre-payments is bound for the firms behind iPhone's Retina display – LG, Sharp and Toshiba.

What's more, market intelligence firm iSuppli claims the money is a full-on investment, set to be used to build the factories and fund the production of said displays.

It would effectively give Apple first dibs on any display technology the three firms collectively produce, while constraining its competitors.

Cornering the market

As a result, Apple would gain a major share of global output of both advanced in-plane switching (IPS) and low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) LCD panels.

As such, commentators are already pitching this as an aggressive move, designed to keep future iterations of iPhone, iPod touch and iPad ahead of the game.

"With Apple trying to invest in assuring IPS supply, and Samsung Electronics having preferential access to small- and medium-sized AMOLED supply, the rest of the smart phone makers are caught between the two giants," said director for small and medium displays at iSuppli's parent comany IHS, Vinita Jakhanwal.

"This has left other OEMs to resort to other technologies when it comes to advanced displays, giving Apple and Samsung a huge edge in product differentiation in a highly competitive market."

[source: iSuppli]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.