Sluggish iPhones sales leave Apple with surplus OLED problem

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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.

Samsung screens could be packed into OLED MacBook Pro, iPad Pro

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MacBook-Pro-concept
What a future MacBook Pro might look like.
Photo: Viktor Kadar

Samsung will be at least one of the suppliers for future MacBook Pro and iPad Pro upgrades with OLED displays, according to a new report.

The South Korean company, which already supplies OLED screens for the iPhone, has reportedly provided Apple with sample panels ahead of big product refreshes — but there’s no word on when we’ll see them.

Apple secures new supplier for Apple Watch Series 5 screens

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new Apple customers
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Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Japan Display will supply OLED screens for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 5, according to a new report.

This will be the Japan Display’s first foray into OLED screens. The deal is said to be a “breakthrough” for the company, which has been suffering as a result of Apple’s move from LCD to OLED displays for the iPhone.

You’ll have to wait until 2020 before iPhones go all-in on OLED

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The iPhone XS Max screen delivers more of that OLED awesomeness.
Currently, two out of three of Apple's new iPhones are OLED.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple likely will keep an iPhone with an LCD screen hanging around for one more year.

According to a new report, this year’s iPhone refresh will keep the same approximate model breakdown as last year’s iPhone XR, iPhone XS and XS Max. That means 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED iPhones, with a cheaper 6.1-inch LCD handset in the middle.

Thinner, lighter 2019 iPhone will be made possible by Samsung

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iPhone X
Proprietary Samsung display technology could bring improvements to a 2019 iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A 2019 iPhone model reportedly will sport a display made by Samsung that has the touch panel integrated into the OLED, rather than layered on top. 

If true, the technology will make one of next year’s iOS handsets thinner and lighter, but not all of them.

iPhone X notch might be on endangered list

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Apple Watch
The iPhone X notch isn't the "deal breaker" so many thought it would be, but the screen cutout could be replaced with an under-display camera in 2019.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The first camera that can be embedded under a phone’s display might launch next year. If this comes to pass, it would remove the need for the screen cutout in the iPhone and many rival Android models.

It’s no secret that companies are trying to develop in-display cameras. The promise that one will be on the market in 2019 comes from an unnamed source.

Samsung develops a new ‘unbreakable’ OLED display

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iPhone X
Samsung is no longer Apple's only OLED maker.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Samsung says it has developed a new “unbreakable” OLED display, which could be used for everything from smartphones to “military devices” (so you know it’s tough!). The rugged plastic panel can withstand repeated drops and extreme temperatures, the company says.

Having previously been the exclusive OLED panel provider for the iPhone X, Samsung now faces increasing competition from other companies that want a piece of the Apple pie. But the South Korean tech giant is fighting back!

Apple doubles OLED orders from Samsung, but there’s a catch

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2018 iPhone
Apple is ramping up its use of OLED displays in 2018.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is upping its use of OLED displays for this year’s iPhone refresh — and it wants a better deal as a result.

As was the case last year, this year’s iPhone displays will reportedly be manufactured by Samsung Display. Due to the numbers Apple is projecting for this year’s OLED iPhone orders, it wants Samsung to lower the costs it charges Apple by around 9 percent.

LG losing its fight to become iPhone screen supplier

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iPhone X
Ready to ditch your iPhone X already? There's still time to get a great price!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is having a tough time trying to diversify iPhone screen suppliers and break away from Samsung.

LG Display was lined up to become a second supplier of OLED displays for this year’s iPhone lineup, but after running into manufacturing troubles, it may not be able to meet Apple’s demands.

Samsung will start OLED production for next-gen iPhones next month

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iPhone plus model next to iPhone X
Apple will release two new OLED iPhones this year, along with an LCD model.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Samsung is reportedly ramping up to start OLED panel production for the next-generation iPhone X and iPhone X Plus.

According to a new report, Samsung was hit hard by the downturn in iPhone X sales, which saw Apple slashing order numbers in half. As a result, OLED production was shut down for several months, only to be restarting in May. Capacity will double in June.