Samsung may currently be the only company to build OLED displays for the iPhone, but it faces a growing number of challengers going forward, a new report claims.
Not only is LG Display widely expected to become Apple’s second OLED producer in 2018, but other companies including Foxconn subsidiary Sharp and Japan Display are also keen to get a piece of the pie by becoming Apple’s third and fourth OLED suppliers.
According to sources at Taiwan’s Photonic Industry and Technology Development Association (PIDA), LG Display has “high potential” to become an OLED panel supplier for Apple this year. This reflects a previous report from last month, in which we noted that an LG regulatory filing has hinted at this prospect, although “nothing has [yet] been set in detail.”
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also suggested that LG is likely to supply 10-20 percent of the iPhone’s OLED supply by 2019, and 20-30 percent by 2020. Apple is reportedly planning to expand its number of OELD display devices in future, which explains why it is looking to take on more suppliers.
In addition to LG, today’s report said that Sharp will be capable of producing OLED screens as early as the second quarter of 2018. Sharp, which has previously produced iPhone displays, is owned by regular Apple supplier Foxconn. It is likely to come third in the pecking order, after LG and Samsung, but ahead of Japan Display. Japan Display also hopes to be producing its own OLED displays around the same time as Sharp.
Interestingly, today’s report notes that:
“The overall OLED panel production capacity from panel makers in Korea, Japan and China will definitely far surpass that of actual demand in coming years leading to oversupply of the panels, commented the sources.”
China alone currently has a total of 13 fabrication plants, capable of producing small and medium-sized OLED panels. In total, these 13 can produce an estimated 350,000 OLED substrates every month if all are online at the same time.