Chimei Innolux To License FFS From E Ink Holdings To Build iPad Panels

There does seem to be a shortage for the 9.7-inch IPS LCD panels going into Apple’s iPad, which has sold three million units in 80 days (read Apple Sold Three Million iPads In 80 Days). LG Display (LGD) is the main supplier of those panels shipping 300K in February, 470K in March and up to 700K in April and in May. According to DIGITIMES, Samsung is the secondary source for the iPad panels and the company has shipped 100K in May and is expected to grow to 300-500K in July. Now Chimei Innolux (CMI) is seeking to license FFS technology from E Ink Holdings, previously Prime View International (PVI), to become another iPad display source for Apple. PVI by purchasing Hydis from BOE gained FFS, which stands for fringe field switching. FFS is very similar to IPS in terms of display performance and has some very good features: sunlight readability, low power consumption, wide viewing angles, fast response time and high brightness. PVI has already licensed it FFS technology to IPS Alpha, Hitachi, Sanyo Epson Image Devices and LGD.

I have a few questions and maybe some of you can help answer them. How is it that Samsung is able to manufacture IPS LCD panels for Apple’s iPad? Did Samsung license IPS from either LGD or Hitachi? Wouldn’t it take considerable time getting up to speed in volume manufacturing high-quality IPS LCD panels that meet Apple’s specifications? Is there a quality difference between Samsung’s and LGD’s 9.7-inch IPS LCD panels? And would a non-IPS CMI-built FFS panel be qualified for the iPad program?

It might be just me but I would bet there is some difference between the iPad panels that are being made by LGD versus Samsung. There is a reason why Apple has always chosen IPS display technology for its high-end non-notebook displays (notebooks are 100% TN for some odd reason): Apple considers IPS better than MVA, PVA, ASV, etc. If I were in the market for an iPad I would certainly want it to have a LGD-manufactured bona fide IPS LCD panel.