LG Display's plan to invest about US$656.7 million in OLED display production had lead to more speculation that Apple is planning on adopting the technology for its products, but what's more likely is that this is a move to leapfrog the competition to become the go-to company for OLED television displays.
LG's OLED investment is for TV's, not Apple displays
Apple happens to be one of LG's big-name clients, and recently hired Jueng-jil Lee who whas a Research Fellow with LG Display. Those two bits of information together make it easy to follow the path suggesting LG's just announced investment plans mean it will be making OLED displays for Apple products, and possibily even the rumored Apple television.
For now, Apple relies on LCD technology for its displays, and CEO Tim Cook seems pleased with that choice. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference several days ago, Mr. Cook shot down the idea of using OLED displays because of color quality, saying that consumers will be disappointed with the technology.
Instead of focusing on potential Apple products, LG is looking to improve production yields for larger OLED displays that can be used in televisions, just as Samsung is trying to do. LG will be able to manufacture 26,000 sheets a month that can yield six 55-inch TV screens, according to the Wall Street Journal, which could position the company as a leader in the OLED TV market.
OLED displays let manufacturers build thinner televisions that use less power and can offer more vivid colors than current LCD TVs, but at a substantially higher price. As LG and competitors like Samsung ramp up production, however, those prices can come down, making OLED televisions more affordable for average consumers.
Bringing those prices down is something that TV makers want to see because so far the OLED market hasn't proven successful thanks to high prices.
While Apple isn't afraid to charge more for its products, the company has been selling at more competitive prices and even lowered the price for some of its laptops last week -- and jumping into the TV market with a $10,000 product, which is what LG is charging for its 55-inch OLED HDTV, doesn't sound like a move Apple would make.
It's clear Apple is actively looking at OLED technology, but for now the company will most likely stick with LCD for the Mac and iPad and leave the the more expensive displays for the TV market.