Rumor: Next iPhone to Use Samsung OLED Display

OLED DisplayImage via HowStuffWorks.

Future iPhones, including products as near as the very next iteration, may use OLED displays, according to statements made by Samsung executives in Korea, the Korea Times reported Monday.

In an article discussing Samsung’s spinoff of its display business into “Samsung Display,” a move intended to counter the Japanese partnership of Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi into “Japan Display,” the Korea Times spoke with Samsung executives on the condition of anonymity.

Discussing the increased output capacity that Samsung Display will now enjoy, one executive stated: “So far, Apple has questions over an output commitment and product volume as Samsung’s OLED business isn’t on full track. But chances have risen to break the wall,” suggesting that Apple’s intentions to move to OLED technology have been limited primarily by concerns over production capacity. With Samsung Display’s increased resources and investment, industry analysts no longer expect capacity to be an issue. 

Should Apple make the switch from LCD to OLED for future iDevices, it won’t be the first company to do so. Active Matrix OLED displays have been used in iPhone competitors for years, including phones from Nokia, HTC, and Samsung. While these phones generally receive high marks for their display quality, the technology has been difficult to manufacture in volume and more expensive than traditional LCD displays, like the kind the iPhone currently uses. 

Due to a push by the television industry to introduce large-format OLED displays, however, production costs and technical issues are starting to decrease, allowing for better quality and cheaper OLED displays for smaller devices such as smartphones and tablets. 

Despite lengthy legal battles around the globe, Apple remains Samsung’s largest customer, with US$7.8 billion worth of component purchases in 2011 and an expected $11 billion more this year.