Japanese electronics firm Sharp, owned by Apple supplier Foxconn, is supposedly working to enter the supply chain for future iPhones boasting OLED displays.
The news comes shortly after a report claiming that Apple plans to include all OLED displays in its 2020 iPhone lineup. Currently it includes a mix of LCD and OLED models. As a result of the increased focus on OLED displays, a number of companies are supposedly gearing up their OLED panel production capability.
Today’s report also mentions China-based panel vendors including BOE Technology and Tianma Micro-electronics as companies looking to improve their OLED panel production rates. Other companies named include Novatek Microelectronics, Himax Technologies, Chipbond Technology and ChipMOS Technologies — all of which are reconfiguring parts of their business to cope with the growth of OLED displays.
Not all of these companies plan to enter the Apple supply chain necessarily. Sharp is the only one explicitly named as looking to building OLED displays for Apple. However, there’s no doubt that having the top phone manufacturers (Apple and Samsung) embrace OELD displays is pushing other handset makers to follow suit.
The push for OLED displays
The advantage of OLED screens over LCD is that they offer more vibrant colors, increased contrast, and greater color accuracy. OLED pixels are also individually lit, and don’t require a dedicated backlight like LCD screens. The result is that they have improved battery life and can be used for different form factors of device — making things possible such as thinner bezels or more irregular shapes.
Until now, Apple’s OLED displays — currently used for the iPhone XS and XS Max — are mainly produced by Samsung Display. It also reportedly acquires some displays from LG Display. If Apple further expands the number of iPhones using OLED screens, past experience suggests that Apple might try and find other suppliers to share the orders.