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TrendForce: Apple decided not to use a flexible OLED in next iPhone

Feb 22, 2017

Countless reports claim that the 2017 iPhone 8 (or will it be a >$1000 iPhone X?) will use AMOLED displays for at least one variant. Most of these reports suggested that Apple want to use a flexible curved AMOLED display.

iPhone 7 photo

TrendForce, following talks to supply chain sources, now says that Apple was not happy with the production yields and drop-test results of those flexible OLEDs, and the company decided to adopt a flat display (with rounded edges, what is called 2.5D glass). This design is similar to the one used in current iPhone models.

Is Apple in talks with BOE regarding a future AMOLED deal?

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.

Transparent OLEDs Market Report

Report suggest Apple ordered a second OLED deal from SDC

Feb 13, 2017

According to a report from Korea, Apple ordered an extra 60 million flexible OLED panels from Samsung Display for the next-generation iPhone, in a deal worth 5 trillion Korean Won, or about $4.3 billion.

iPhone 7 photo

The report says that this deal is an addition to Apple's original OLED order in late 2016. That 2016 deal, for 100 million OLEDs, was estimated at $4.3 billion as well, so it may be that this is actually the same display order that is just now being reported again.

Will Apple's 10th Anniversary OLED iphone cost over $1,000?

Feb 10, 2017

There are many reports that detail Apple's 2017 iPhone lineup, and it seems quite certain that Apple will indeed release a high-end iPhone model that will adopt a flexible OLED. Those OLEDs will be produced by Samsung Display (Apple apparently paid $4 billion in advance to secure those displays).

According to a new report from Fast Company, Apple will introduce three new iPhones in 2017 - the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, with 4.7" and 5.5" LCD displays, and premium 5.8" iPhone that will sport the OLED display. Fast Company says that this phone will be called the iPhone X (as in the 10th iPhone), and it introduce several new features (besides the new display technology) - and carry a price tag of over $1,000.

Reports from Japan state that Sharp aims to build a $865 million OLED fab in China by 2019

Jan 19, 2017

According to a report from Japan's Nikkei Asian Review, Sharp will build an OLED production line at Foxconn's factory in Zhengzhou (northern China). The investment in this new fab will total around 100 billion yen (about $865 million) and production will begin in 2019. Sharp is specifically aiming to supply screens for Apple's future iPhones.

In October 2016 Sharp announced that it will invest $570 million to build OLED pilot lines in Osaka and in the Mie Prefecture. The pilot lines will begin OLED production in the summer of 2018. It was later reported that Sharp is considering to establish those lines in China instead - so it may be that this new Zhengzhou fab is actually the one reported in October.

ETNews: LG Display partnered with Apple, Google and Microsoft to develop foldable displays

Dec 16, 2016

Korean news site ETNews says that LG Display is partnering with Apple, Google and Microsoft to develop a foldable OLED display for smartphones. The plan is for LGD to start producing such displays in 2018. LG Electronics is also part of this project, but apparently the first customers for these displays will be the three US-based companies.

ETNews calls these displays "out-foldable" displays, which probably means that the target devices are a smartphone-sized devices that open-up to have a tablet-like display. According to ETNews LGD recently developed an impressive prototype of those displays. LGD news is carrying out most of the development of this display.

IHS sees 139 million flexible displays shipped in 2017

Dec 12, 2016

IHS says that flexible display shipments (mostly OLEDs) will reach 139 million units in 2017 (or 3.8% of the total display market) - an increase of 135% compared to 2016 (59 million units). In 2023 IHS sees shipments of 560 million flexible displays.

Flexible display shipments (2014-2023, IHS)

In 2017, flexible OLEDs will comprise 20% of the total OLED display market. The growth in flexible OLED adoption will be lead by smartphones - and especially Apple's next-gen iPhone. In 2016 76% of flexible OLEDs ended up in smartphones - and the remainder were used in smartwatches (mostly in Apple's Watch, probably). Next generation flexible OLED applications, including tablets, VR devices, automotive displays and OLED TVs are not expected to be significant until 2023.

Is Apple's recent $4 billion component order an OLED purchase?

Nov 10, 2016

In Apple's recent financial filings, the company details a $4 billion purchase order with more than a year duration. This purchase order coincides with an "off-balance sheet obligation" for the same amount from the third quarter.

J.P. Morgan's analyst says that this order is related to Apple's long-term OLED sourcing deal from Samsung Display - probably for the next-gen OLED iPhone. J.P. Morgan further connects this order to a comment by Apple that it may have trouble acquiring troublesome components "on commercially reasonable terms". OLEDs indeed are currently supply-strained and Apple needed to make sure it has enough capacity.

Sharp's new CEO says Apple will switch from LCDs to OLEDs in future iPhones

Oct 30, 2016

Apple's move to adopt OLED displays in future iPhones has been discussed many times in the past, and now it is Sharp's newly appointed CEO Tai Jeng-wu turn to "confirm" these reports. During a talk in Tatung University, Tai said that Apple is indeed switching to an OLED display in future iPhones.

Sharp 3.4'' flexible IGZO OLED prototype (Apr 2016)

Tai further commented that OLED represents the best chance for Apple to truly innovate its displays - so this is both a problem and an opportunity for Apple. This cannot be considered to be a real confirmation as many reports suggest, but it is pretty clear that OLED is the way to go for future displays.