iPhone’s OLED upgrade could be threatened by supply issues

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iPhone-7
We may be left waiting for OLED iPhones.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s plans to debut OLED iPhones in 2017 may be threatened by the fact that its main suppliers don’t currently have the capacity to make the necessary displays.

The four largest producers of smartphone displays currently include Samsung Display, LG, Sharp and Japan Display Co.

Samsung has been using OLED displays for its own smartphones for some time now, but reportedly won’t be able to make enough due to the combination of low yield rates and increasing iPhone demand.

Samsung is said to have received an exclusive OLED supply deal for next year, with Apple’s initial OLED order coming in at 100 million units over a one year period.

The problem is is that, not only would this not be enough displays to fill iPhone demand over a twelve month period, but it would also give Apple no fall-back option if Samsung is unable to deliver what has been asked of it.

Sharp and Japan Display are meanwhile currently working on “test procedures,” although they may only be able to enter mass production in 2018.

As a result, Bloomberg speculates that OLED displays may just be available on certain models of the next-gen iPhone, unless Apple is happy to push back the arrival of OLED iPhones completely.

This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has been held up by suppliers’ inability to deliver the necessary components. In 2014, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus didn’t get their ultra-hard sapphire screens after Apple supplier GT Advanced was unable to produce sufficient quantities.