MF Global analyst David Rubenstein resparked the rumor in a sales note to clients on Wednesday, giving shares of the Japanese company a lift of more than 2 percent, as noted by Reuters.
"We think it is highly possible that Apple will make an investment in Sharp's Kameyama plant to the tune of around $1 billion in order to secure stable supply of screens for iPhones and iPads," he said, adding that Apple's investment would have a "material impact on Sharp's profitability.
Last December, Japanese business newspaper Nikkei claimed Apple would pay a "large portion" of the 100 billion yen ($1.3 billion) required to build a new LCD manufacturing facility and would buy "most" of the panels produced there. Production was said to begin at the plant in the later half of 2012.
On Monday, a rumor emerged that Sharp's supply of 9.7-inch 2,048 by 1,536 resolution next-generation iPad displays are insufficient for an iPad 3 launch in 2011. DigiTimes said the high-resolution displays are "mainly supplied" by Sharp with a high price, and Apple's other suppliers Samsung Electronics and LG Display are both "unable to reach a good yield."
"Due to iPad 3's requirements over the physical thinness, rich color support and toughness will all conflict with the panel's technology restrictions; therefore, this could cause a delay in the launch," the report said.