Apple has reportedly confirmed to its supply chain that it plans to switch from LCD panels to OLED ones for iPhones released in 2017-2018. This potentially means that we might get an OLED Apple handset as early as the iPhone 7s — and not the iPhone 8 as previously thought.
Cupertino is said to be asking display makers in both Korea and Japan to start expanding their OLED manufacturing capabilities to fit its needs.
While other companies including Samsung have embraced OLED displays previously, Apple’s reticence is supposedly related to concerns over yield issues — with Apple requiring far larger numbers of displays than other phone manufacturers. Other worries on Apple’s part include issues with the lifespan, luminosity, and energy-saving capabilities of smaller OLED panels.
In its note to supply chain manufacturers, Apple breaks down the specifications it needs displays to conform to, which involve Apple selling upwards of 200 million devices annually over the next several years.
The three main panel makers who are competing for OLED orders from Apple include LG Display, Japan Display, and JOLED. The switch is already having a negative impact on the share price of some companies, since the likes of Japan Display rely on LCD screens for 80 percent of its business.
It is likely that Japan Display and JOLED will come to some arrangement to collaborate on new research facilities for OLED displays.
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