The iPhone 7 isn’t out yet, and already Apple’s suppliers are reportedly preparing for 2017’s iPhone refresh — by getting ready to build the OLED displays Apple plans on introducing.
Today’s report is based on a 4x increase in orders from OLED manufacturing plant provider Applied Materials Inc., which is being bombarded with orders by other companies eager to get hold of the technology needed to produce OLED displays.
Applied says that its Q2 orders added up to $700 million, a number approaching what it usually makes in one year. By comparison, last year the second quarter brought in “just” $180 million.
If you’re thinking the new displays may be for this year’s iPhone 7, however, think again: Applied says that it takes around nine months to build, deliver and then install their OLED machines. Unless the iPhone 7 will be delayed much, much later this year (which seems incredibly unlikely), OLED displays will be ready for next year’s iPhone 7s — a handset which sounds like it’ll be Apple’s biggest refresh since 2014’s iPhone 6.
In the meantime, Apple suppliers are lining up to create OLED displays for Apple’s future handsets. Japan Display is reportedly chasing orders from Apple, while Samsung is “on the fast track” to building a dedicated facility for supplying the high-end screens, and Foxconn has acquired struggling display maker Sharp due to the number of patents Sharp owns in this area of research.
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