Some more scuttlebutt out of the Japan's Nikkei Daily suggests Apple may be investing in a Sharp-owned LCD facility. The Japanese LCD facility was built in 2004 for the production of television LCDs. It has recently been re-purposed for small to mid-size LCDs after Sharp sold off its TV production equipment. Sharp is reportedly expanding this plant to meet increasing demand for mobile-sized LCDs. Construction is expected to begin in 2011 and the plant should be ready for production in 2012. This build-out will cost about 100 billion yen ($1.2 billion) and Apple is allegedly shouldering the lion's share of this cost.
This rumor should sound familiar as earlier speculation suggested Apple was investing in a Toshiba-built LCD facility in Japan. According to this earlier report, Apple was investing US$1 billion into the plant, which would be used to produce high-resolution retina displays. Apple failed to comment on this story, but Toshiba vehemently denied Apple had invested in this plant.
For the end consumer, it does not matter whose money is involved in building these plants. Additional manufacturing facilities will help ensure LCD production meets or even outstrips demand. If this buzz pans out, LCD shortages may be a thing of the past.