DigiTimes Research estimates Apple's iPhone 5 will be in short-supply in Q4 2012 due to insufficient volume of in-cell touchscreen panels. Japan Display and LG are currently achieving production yields close to 80 percent for in-cell touchscreen panels, while Sharp is struggling with a yield rate of only 30-40 percent. DigiTimes anticipates iPhone 5 shipments in the final quarter of the year may hit 30-35 million units, less than the anticipated demand (for which no estimate is mentioned in the article).
One of the more interesting details of the latest iPhone is the use of in-cell touchscreen panels. Improving yield rates for the panels should benefit iPhone 5's shipments in the fourth quarter to reach 30-35 million units. However, the volume will still be unable to satisfy demand for the iPhone 5.
Total iPhone (all models) shipments in the fourth quarter are expected to reach more than 40 million units. Currently, only Japan-based Japan Display and Korea-based LG Display have a production yield close to 80% for in-cell touchscreen panels and Sharp, which has a yield rate at 30-40%, is only expected to to have a chance to become a major panel supplier to Apple after the panel maker improves the yield rate in the fourth quarter.