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Feb 15, 2017

Bloomberg says that Apple is in discussions with BOE Display to supply OLED displays for next generation iPhones. According to the story, Apple has been testing BOE's displays for months but has not made a decision yet. The deal under discussion is not for the 2017 iPhone (which will exclusively use Samsung-made OLED), but for the one coming in 2018 or maybe even later.

The 2017 iPhone 8 (or will it be a >$1000 iPhone X?) will reportedly use AMOLED displays for at least one variant. These will be produced by Samsung Display, and reports from 2016 suggested that Apple paid $4.3 billion upfront to secure 100 million panels. A couple of days ago it was reported that Apple ordered an extra 60 million OLED panels from Samsung Display.

BOE currently a 4.5-Gen pilot line in Chengdu that is already producing AMOLED displays, and the company is also on track to begin production in a new $3 billion Gen-6 line in Chengdu in the 2nd half of 2017. In October 2016 BOE also announce a third OLED fab, in Mianyang. This will be another 6-Gen AMOLED fab, but it will produce flexible OLEDs on plastic substrates. According to BOE's plans, this $6.87 billion fab will produce 45,000 sheets per month and will enter production in 2019.

BOE has ambitious OLED plans, but the company is still behind market leaders Samsung and LG Display. It seems likely that Apple is actually in talks with all OLED makers, and it would have seemed likely that LG Display will be the company's second OLED supplier as the Korean company is the closest one to begin mass producing flexible OLEDs besides SDC.

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Comments

One thing that concerns me about OLED displays is their burn-in. Recently at Heathrow airport in London and at a Bestbuy store in NJ, I noticed latest OLED Samsung tablets and phones exhibiting very noticeable screen burn-in especially if you open any app or browser window with clear white background. I am over sixty and my eyesight is not as good as it used to be but to me this level of burn-in is unacceptable. I extensively use an iPad 2 from 2011 and so far the screen and battery life is very good. Only, last week I bought and iPad pro which I am sure will last me more than 5 years. 

HD

Burn-in is a real problem, although my own experience is good. I had a Galaxy S phone for several years with no problems. I have a GS4 since early 2014 (it is now my daughter's phone) and there's no problem even after 3 years of daily use. I now have a Google Pixel for half a year and also no noticeable problem there...