The fight is on to be the supplier for next year’s iPhone OLED displays. Samsung and LG are hoping to get a slice of that pie, and their fight all but confirms Apple is dropping LCD in favor of OLED for iPhone screens in 2017 or 2018.
Insider sources speaking with BusinessKorea said Samsung and LG are investing a combined US$11.6 million this year into flexible OLED display production, and LG is currently building the world’s largest OLED production facility. Those investments are geared at getting Apple’s business.
The 2017 iPhone display is expected to switch away from the current LCD technology in favor of OLED, which means Apple is going to need a lot of screens. Some reports say Apple will transition only the iPhone Plus to OLED next year, and drop LCD for the smaller screen model in 2018. Even if that’s the case, analysts estimate Apple will still need 100 million displays.
Considering how popular the iPhone is it isn’t any surprise companies are pushing to be Apple’s favored OLED supplier.
Samsung and LG most likely won’t be competing in a two-party race. Foxconn’s recent Sharp purchase may well put Apple’s production partner in the mix, too. Foxconn would no doubt like to be more than just a device maker for Apple, and this would be a good—and lucrative—foot in the door.
Regardless of who gets the parts order, it’s looking like 2017’s iPhone refresh is going to make the jump to OLED displays. If not, Samsung and LG will have plenty to sell to other smartphone makers.