OLED is a new display technology, used to create thin, power efficient and bright displays. Today OLEDs are used in mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras and even TV sets - as OLEDs are considered the best display technology ever.
Apple's OLED iPhone
Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone X was the company's first OLED Phone - with a 5.8" 1125x2436 (458 PPI) flexible Super AMOLED display. Since then Apple has been adding more OLED iPhones, and as of 2021, the company's entire smartphone lineup adopts AMOLED displays.
The OLED Apple Watch
In April 2015 Apple launched its first wearable device, the Apple Watch which used a flexible AMOLED display (made by LG Display). All Apple Watch products to date continue to use flexible AMOLED displays. OLED displays are especially suitable for wearable devices - as the displays are thinner and lighter than LCD displays, and are more power efficient (especially if you tweak the UI to suit the special OLED properties). According to reports, Apple is developing next-generation MicroLED display technologies for future wearable devices.
Apple OLED MacBook Pro
Apple's MacBook Pro range of high-end laptops started adopting an OLED Touch Bar instead of the traditional function keys in 2016. The display itself is either a 13" or a 15" LCD.
The OLED strip is supported by most of Apple's applications and can show commonly used emojis in messaging applications, bookmarks while you browse and other context-activated options. It also includes a Touch ID sensor that is activated for example when you wish to pay online (on supported web stores). Apple released an API to developers can support the Touch Bar in third-party applications.
The latest Apple OLED news:
Apple finalizes its supply chain for the iPhone 14 AMOLED displays, starts ordering panels from BOE again
According to reports from Korea, Apple has started to sign agreements regarding the supply of OLED displays for the next iPhone model (iPhone 14). As always, the main supplier will be Samsung Display, which will supply 80 million units of its latest LTPO AMOLED display (M12 stack) to Apple.
Apple is set to release four iPhone models. The iPhone 14 (6.1-inch), 14 Plus (6.7-inch), 14 Pro (6.1-inch) and 14 Pro Max (6.7-inch).
LG Display has been developing OLED microdisplay technologies for several years, and according to a new report from Korea the company is now aiming to build its first production line, as it has hopes to supply OLED Microdisplay to Apple in the future. LG is reportedly ordering deposition equipment from Korea-based OLED equipment maker Sunic System.
According to reports, Apple is using 4K OLED microdisplay produced by Sony for its first-gen AR device. But Apple could aim to replace Sony (which is a direct competitor) in its later-generation devices.
BOE has been aiming to supply OLED displays for Apple for a long time, and Apple also welcomed BOE as a supplier as it wants to reduce its dependence on Samsung and LG.
An interesting report from Korea suggests that Apple's CEO met with Samsung Display's CEO recently, as Apple is looking to reduce its OLED iPhone orders from Samsung by around 15% in 2022.
Apple, like the rest of the technology industry, is facing supply constraints and has already said that it won't be able to meet the demand for its products in 2022. Apple's original plan was to produce 220 million iPhones in 2022, and it expected to order 160 million iPhone AMOLED panels from SDC. Apple's now expects to ship only 185 million iPhones.
CINNO Research: BOE signed a deal with Apple to supply 50 million LTPS OLED panels for the iPhone 14
BOE has been aiming to supply OLED displays for Apple for a long time. In 2020 BOE did not pass Apple's OLED quality test for the iPhone 12 , but later it it did manage to enter Apple's supply chain, only for aftermarket (refurbished models) 6.06" LTPS AMOLED displays.
According to CINNO Research, BOE recently signed a contract with Apple to supply OLED panels for the iPhone 14, which will be launch in October 2022. This will be the first time BOE is supplying OLEDs to a new Apple device. CINNO says that the contact amounts to 50 million panels, about 25% of Apple's total OLED supply. These will be 6.1" LTPS AMOLED displays.
Demand for IT OLED displays used in laptops, tablets and monitors is on the rise, and OLED makers (Led by Samsung Display) are rushing to develop 8.5-Gen OLED deposition technologies to increase IT display production capacity. Last month DSCC said that there are currently 11 different 15K G8.5 IT OLED lines under development.
ETNews now reports that LG Display is one of the companies looking to construct 8.5-Gen OLED lines. LGD is already evaluation production equipment,such as vertical deposition tools by Sunic Systems, deposition sources by YAS and more.
BOE aims to develop tandem OLED displays for Honor smartphones, and hopefully to Apple iPads in the future
According to a report from Korea, BOE is in talks with China-based smartphone producer Honor regarding the supply of tandem (dual-stack) OLED displays to be used in Honor's smartphones.
BOE hopes that its tandem OLED panels will reduce power consumption by around 30% compared to a single-stack OLED display, which will enable Honor to adopt a smaller battery and a thinner design. Both companies hopes to be able to introduce the panels and the smartphones that use it by the end of 2022.
Back in 2020 we reported that Apple is worried about lifetime and burn-in issues in AMOLED displays in tablet applications, and Apple decided to adopt a tandem OLED architecture in the displays it will eventually adopt in future iPad devices.
LG Display already developed such panels for automotive applications, and according to reports it is developing a tandem LTPO AMOLED display for Apple, aiming to supply these to Apple at around 2024. According to a new report, Samsung Display has launched a project to develop tandem OLED panels as it also hopes to supply panels for Apple's future iPads.
DSCC estimates that just over 10 million foldable OLED displays shipped in 2022, and the market is set to grow to 86 million units by 2026 (54% CAGR).
DSCC says that foldable smartphone revenues rose 342% in 2021, and have reached $5.8 billion. The most popular foldable smartphone was the Galaxy Z Flip 3 (51% market share in 2021), followed by the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (26% market share) and the Huawei Mate X2 (6% market share).
According to ETNews, BOE reduced its AMOLED production for Apple to about 2-3 months in February and March, down from around 9-10 million units it originally planned to produced, as the company failed to secure enough driver ICs.
ETNews says that LX Semicon (previously Silicon Works) cannot supply BOE with enough driver chips. Most of the company's chips will be supplied to LG's OLED panels.