iPhone 5 Sharp screen delay could bottleneck supply

The iPhone 5 could end up in short supply, with word that Sharp has apparently experienced delays in mass producing displays for the much-anticipated iOS smartphone. Sharp had intended to begin large scale production and shipping of the new LCD panels in August, an insider whispered to the WSJ, but unspecified manufacturing problems have supposedly scuppered that timescale.

That apparently leaves just two of Apple's three intended suppliers actually delivering components, LG Display and Japan Display Inc. Both have already begun shipping to Apple, the source says, though Sharp still does not have an estimated date for when its deliveries might begin.

If true, the delay could be potentially very embarrassing for Sharp and key Apple product manufacturer Foxconn, which recently invested significantly into the display firm. It's not the first time Sharp has supposedly let Apple down, either. The firm was supposedly bypassed initially for new iPad display supplies after its panels failed to live up to Cupertino's exacting standards.

Apple has declined to comment on the leaks, but the company is expected to launch the iPhone 5 at an event on September 12. Typically, Apple pushes out its new phones roughly a week or so after the official reveal, and it's unclear whether Sharp's problems will change that or create a supply bottleneck in the first weeks of availability.