Apple might change its display type for the iPhone in 2017 or 2018 from IPS LCD to OLED, according to reports. The company is said to be in talks with Samsung, LG, and Japan Display to see the OLED panels in action and look into scalability.
A new report from Japanese news publisher Nikkan says Japan Display is in the early stages of converting one of its Ishikawa factories into a test site for iPhone OLED screens. JDI’s stock plunged following news that the iPhone might move to OLED in 2018, since it supplies the iPhone 6S LCD panel. JDI reportedly wants to reach mass production at the factory by 2018, the same year the iPhone 8 should launch.
LG has already invested $8.7 billion in a new OLED facility, where it will build panels for TVs, car dashboards, and wearables. The company may be planning capacity upgrades to show off its mass production capabilities to Apple, industry sources suggest.
It would not be the first time LG has worked on iPhone displays — it is one of the three iPhone 6S display suppliers. LG is also one of the only TV manufacturers currently promoting OLED, while its rivals shun the technology.
Samsung is the third potential supplier. It has used OLED technology on smartphones for quite a while, under the Super AMOLED brand, and it reportedly has a team dedicated to building displays for Apple products. Samsung is most likely the safest bet when it comes to scalability, though Apple doesn’t seem to enjoy working with its closest hardware rival.
Suppliers often clamor to win Apple contracts, since iPhone sales are typically high. Samsung has even continued to build processors for the iPhone, despite being engaged in a legal battle with Apple for four years. However, things don’t always go swimmingly for Apple’s suppliers, as proven with the bankruptcy of GT Advanced Systems — Apple’s sapphire crystal glass supplier.
Of course, all of this is rumor, and it’s unlikely that OLED panels will grace the iPhone 7, according to the oft-correct analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. However, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors that Apple may be considering a switch to OLED tech for future iPhones. It seems likely that the California-based company will move away from LCD screens sooner rather than later.