Apple suppliers are struggling to deliver enough screens for the soon-to-be-released iPhone 6 after the design of a key component held up production.
The latest iteration of the US company’s flagship device is expected to launch next month, but it is unclear whether the hiccup could cause a delay or limit the number of phones initially available to consumers, sources said.
A media event scheduled for 9 September is expected to see the unveiling of the new iPhone 6 with both 4.7 inch (11.94 cm) and 5.5 inch screens – bigger than the 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5s and 5c.
Two supply chain sources said display panel production suffered a setback after the backlight that helps illuminate the screen had to be revised, putting screen assembly on hold for part of June and July.
One said Apple, aiming for the thinnest phone possible, initially wanted to cut back to a single layer of backlight film, instead of the standard two layers, for the 4.7-inch screen, which went into mass production ahead of the 5.5-inch version.
But the new configuration was not bright enough and the backlight was sent back to the drawing board to fit in the extra layer, costing precious time and temporarily idling some screen assembly operations, the source said.
Output is now back on track and suppliers are working flat-out to make up for lost time, the supply chain sources added. Japan Display, Sharp and South Korea's LG Display have been selected to make the iPhone 6 screens, the sources said. Representatives for those three suppliers, and for Apple, declined to comment.
Apple is known to make tough demands on its parts suppliers for new iPhones and iPads that can cause glitches and delays, including screen problems that crimped supplies at last year's launch of a high-resolution version of Apple's iPad Mini.
Supply chain sources had previously said challenges with the new iPhone's screen in-cell technology, which eliminates one of the layers in the LCD screen to make it thinner, caused a delay in the production of the larger 5.5-inch version. One display industry source said the in-cell issues had now been resolved.
Apple iPhone 6 rumour mill infographic