Sluggish iPhones sales leave Apple with surplus OLED problem

By

iPhone X
The iPhone X was the first iOS device to get an OLED display.
Photo: Apple

Weak iPhone sales over the last two years could cause Apple to bring OLED displays to the iPad or MacBooks a bit earlier than expect.

Apple owes Samsung Display hundreds of millions of dollars because it agreed to purchase a certain amount of OLED displays per year. With iPhone sales in a slump, Apple hasn’t bought as many OLEDs as it promised but the two sides are reportedly discussing alternative solutions other than sending a giant pile of cash to Samsung.

One of the proposed solutions, according to ETNews, could be to put the extra OLEDs in new MacBook Pros and/or iPad Pros. It seems inevitable for OLEDs to make their way to almost all of Apple’s products, but this could push the timeline forward a bit.

Apple’s surplus OLEDs problem

Rumors have claimed Apple plans to introduce a new 16-inch MacBook with an all-new design. Ming Chi Kuo has also reported that new iPad Pros are set to go into production at the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020. His reports never stated what display tech the new devices will use. With a glut of extra OLEDs though, it sounds like now would be a great time for a big display upgrade.

OLEDs offer better contrast and power efficiency for displays. Samsung’s production lines dedicated to Apple displays reportedly hasn’t exceeded 50% of capacity in a few years. The two companies still haven’t found a clear solution yet.

Another possibility could be to put an OLED display in the rumored 31.6-inch iMac supposedly set to come out in 2020. Apple allegedly already lineup up microLED suppliers for that device though. OLEDs are better than microLEDs for smaller screens though so that option seems unlikely.