According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Apple will add Sharp to its list of LCD panel manufacturers, specifically for the next generation iPad. The information comes from people familiar with the situation. Apple is apparently looking to diversify component suppliers for its products and as Sharp is already manufacturing LCD panels for the iPhone; it makes sense for Apple to add it to the supply chain for the iPad too.
Sharp’s Kameyama No.2 plant in Japan will be used to manufacture the panels. It is also believed that Apple is investing in Sharp’s Japanese manufacturing facilities to ensure preferential treatment when it comes to component availability and pricing.
The iPad 3 has long been rumored to have the much coveted “Retina” display. Apple would need to be able to source large quantities of high quality panels with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 for this to become a reality. This could be the deal that paves the way for it to happen early next year!