Apple reportedly facing production issues with ambitious iPhone

One of the best ways to screw up a product launch is to introduce too much change at once. AMD learned that in 2007 with its overly ambitious Barcelona design, which set it back so badly Intel basically stomped all over the company and it never really recovered.

Apple may have made the same mistake. I emphasize "may have." KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a note on Sunday concerning production of Apple's forthcoming iPhone 6 and a phablet design as well, which would be Apple's answer to the Samsung Galaxy Note.

A copy of Kuo's note was obtained by AppleInsider. The site says the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is still expected to debut this fall, but the larger 5.5-inch phablet model could be delayed, perhaps even into 2015.

The problem is related to the new technology for the device's in-cell touch panel as well as color unevenness on the redesigned iPhone metal casing. Those problems are said to be even worse with the larger 5.5-inch model. Both the phone and phablet are much larger than the current iPhone 5S, and stretching the display of a smartphone is no mere task.

This is not the first time production issues have been raised around the two devices. The International Business Times reported pretty much the same problems back in April.

This is strange, because the in-cell touch panel technology, which is designed to incorporate touch into the screen itself allowing for a thinner glass panel, was introduced previously with the iPhone 5. Back then there were reports of difficulty with yields, but they eventually improved. So you'd think they would have the bugs worked out, but apparently that's the risk of a screen stretch.

Kuo's note says the problem increases with the larger screen, with issues related to touch sensitivity on the edges of the panel. Also, he said the new scratch-resistant 5.5-inch sapphire front panel won't easily pass the drop test in the near term.

Kuo said that there was some possibility of the 5.5-inch device making it to market this year, but it would be very late in the year, almost near Christmas, and Apple does not release new devices that late.

AppleInsider went on to say Kuo also issued more bad news last week, this time concerning Apple's rumored "iWatch." He reportedly said the device is facing mass production delays and it would not go on sale until as late as December of this year.

How much can we trust him? Well, AppleInsider does, but The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) rates him as being wrong as often as he is right. I can see there being problems when you take a small panel and expand it radically in size, like the 5.5-inch device, but how much to believe him? I'd say 50-50.

On the plus side for Apple, the Wall Street Journal reports it has taken its first batch of ARM processors from TSMC, thus helping Apple break its reliance on hated supplier and competitor Samsung. The first batch of chips shipped in Q2 and will be used in the iPhone 6. But TSMC isn't fully up to speed in supplying Apple, so Apple can't tell Samsung to kiss off yet.

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