Apple is reportedly making a move to ensure its iDevices keep rolling off production lines. According to Japanese newspaper Nikkei, the company is expected to share $1.2 billion in costs with Toshiba subsidiary Toshiba Mobile Display in order to build a new LCD production plant in Japan’s Ishikawa prefecture, which will primarily supply high resolution, low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) LCDs to Apple. Work on the plant is scheduled start early next year, while the facility isn’t expected to start production until the second half of 2011 and products using its displays will likely arrive in 2012.
Apple hasn’t commented on the rumors but the company may very well need the extra capacity. Although it has a multi-year deal with LG Display that covers a variety of panels, including the 640x960 Retina Display used on the iPhone 4, the latter has struggled to keep up with demand. Once the new factory is up and running at capacity its output should reach around 17 million units per month, which will certainly help Apple meet demand for its popular smartphone.