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Rumor: Wintek touch panel defect may affect iPhone 5 shipments


Defects discovered in Wintek-produced touch panels bound for Apple's next-generation iPhone could adversely affect initial shipments of the device, according to an unverified report.

Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes claimed on Friday that, according to iPhone supply chain makers, "delayed bubble" defects have been discovered in touch panels produced by the supplier. Wintek quickly responded to the rumor by assuring that all of its products are being delivered on schedule, according to the report.

The defect is said to be "difficult to avoid" during production, especially if not detected early on in the process. However, "since the manufacturing process of touch panels used in iPhone 5 is of the same as that for iPhone 4, Wintek is expected to remedy the defect quickly," the report cited sources as saying.

Wintek is believed to make 20 to 25 percent of the touch panels for the iPhone 5. TPK holdings reportedly accounts for 60 to 65 percent and Chimei Innolux will produce the rest.

Sources suggested that Apple is looking to ship 25 to 26 million iPhone 5 units in the fourth quarter. Earlier this month, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed Apple is planning to build 30 million fifth-generation iPhone units by the end of the year.

Recent evidence points to a mid-October launch of the iPhone 5. According to one report on Wednesday, Apple will unveil the iPhone 5 on Oct. 4, with CEO Tim Cook "certain to preside over" the event. The device is widely believed to include the A5 processor and an 8-megapixel camera.

AppleInsider reported last week that preparations are being made in the iPhone maker's AppleCare division for an Oct. 10 release of iOS 5. Apple is said to be nearing completion of the Golden Master build of iOS 5 so that the software can be installed on iPhone 5 units in preparation for its launch next month.

Reports are conflicting about whether Apple will release a secondary, cheaper iPhone model, sometimes referred to as the "iPhone 4S" or the "iPhone 4-plus," alongside the so-called iPhone 5. On Monday, one analyst claimed Apple will introduce a revamped iPhone 4 with midrange pricing that would focus on emerging markets like China. But, another analyst disagreed with the claim on Wednesday, instead insisting that Apple will release an moderately updated iPhone 5 and a 3G-enabled iPod touch, but not an iPhone 4S model.