iPhone display maker takes hit as Samsung steals OLED orders

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Save your battery with this pretty extreme trick.
Apple's OLED dreams are turning out to be a nightmare for some.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The rumors that Samsung is ramping up its OLED facilities bodes well for superior displays on next year’s iPhone refresh, but there’s one party that’s not quite so pleased: struggling Apple display maker Japan Display.

The reason? Because while other companies bet big on OLED, it seems that Japan Display doubled-down on its LCD technology — and may now be suffering the effects of its ill-timed decision.

Barrons describes Japan Display as the “big loser” in Apple’s bid to adopt OLED for next year’s iPhones. Japan Display was previously vying to become Apple’s primary iPhone display maker, and even went as far as building a $1.4 billion dedicated to servicing Cupertino. However, while it currently supplies LCD displays to Apple — which brings in half Japan’s revenue each year — it is described as “way behind” on OLED tech.

Amid the fresh OLED rumors, Japan Display’s share price fell 6 percent yesterday, while Citi Research cut the stock’s price target by more than half. In total, Japan Display’s stock has fallen 51 percent this year, while a plan to buy fellow iPhone display maker Sharp (which holds various OLED-related patents) failed after Japan Display was beaten out by Foxconn.

At this point, Japan Display sounds pretty much guaranteed not to be cash flow positive in the next two years — as it scrambles to try and make up some last-minute OLED ground on its competitors.