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Apple is about to reach an OLED screen deal with Samsung and LG

Apple is about to reach an OLED screen deal with Samsung and LG

iMakers: Apple's Supply Chain
December 30, 2015

According to a recent report, Apple is “close” to signing an agreement with Samsung and LG which would see the two companies produce OLED screens for future iPhones.

Building up production

ET News (via Reuters) has the scoop, and explains that the two companies, Samsung Display and LG Display, are expected to plough a combined $12.8 billion “to build up OLED production capacity over the next two to three years.” Apple, as you’d expect, is also prepared to fund both companies in order to ensure OLED production goes ahead as planned.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard news of Apple’s focus on OLED, however. In November, Japanese newspaper Nikkei explained that LG Display was in the process of planning “upgrades” to its production process “in order to meet demand for the yet-to-be-announced smartphone,” which the newspaper argued would launch in 2018.

Apple’s OLED-equipped smartphone, then, would be the “iPhone 8,” assuming Cupertino’s age-old naming pattern continues. A new display would indeed be good news for users of the handset, given the many benefits of OLED over traditional LCD. At the time, our article explained:

OLED, as a technology, offers consumer electronics owners a number of benefits over more conventional LCD panels. For one, the technology uses less power (making the device itself more battery efficient). They can also be thinner and lighter than LCD, offer wider viewing angles, higher brightness, and significantly higher contrast levels. Finally, OLED features fast response times and wonderful color reproduction.

The losers

The only parties set to lose out on the move are Sharp and Japan Display, both of which supply LCD panels to Apple for its current line of iPhone handsets. As Nikkei indeed noted in its report, the switch to OLED would have “major implications” for both companies. Though, in a further article, it was rumored that Japan Display would also produce OLED panels for Apple (the company isn’t mentioned in today’s news, however).

LG apparently plans to convert current LCD production lines over to OLED, and this likely constitutes the “upgrades” Nikkei talked about back in November. Because of this move, LG Display will have a bigger share of Apple’s orders; Samsung, on the other hand, is expected to produce 30 percent less OLED panels.

As always, we’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.

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