LGD sort of confirms it is in talks with Apple regarding an OLED display supply agreement

Apple is currently relying on Samsung Display as its exclusive supplier of smartphone OLED displays (SDC produces the 5.8" flexible Super AMOLED display on its flagship iPhone X), and Apple is obviously not content with this situation.

Apple iPhone X photo

Finding a second supplier is not easy as SDC is the only company that can produce quality flexible OLEDs at the quantities that Apple requires. Reports suggested that Apple is in talks with LGD (also with other companies, such BOE Display) and in its recent filing, LG Display hinted that it is indeed talking to Apple.

DSCC sees flexible smartphone OLEDs overtaking rigid ones for the first time in Q4 2017

DSCC estimates that 88 Million smartphone OLED displays were shipped in Q3 2017, which represents a 4% drop from Q2 2017 and a 13% drop from Q3 2016 - mostly due to delays in iPhone X shipments. Flexible OLED shipments were up 25% from Q2 2017 (30.4 million units).

Smartphone flexible OLED market shipments (2016-2017, DSCC)

Shipments are expected to grow significantly in Q4 2017, though, to reach 151 million units. Flexible OLEDs shipments (78.3 million) will grow 157% from last quarter and 544% from last year, and will surpass rigid OLED shipments (73.3 million) for the first time.

IHS: smartphone AMOLED revenues reached a record $5.11 billion in Q3 2017

IHS says that SDC increased its lead in the smartphone display market, reaching a market share of 42.7% in Q3 2017. Samsung is followed by JDI (12.5%), LG Display (10.1%), BOE (8.8%) and Sharp (7.7%). The smartphone display market totaled $11.8 billion in Q3, a new quarterly high.

Smartphone display market share Q3 2017 (IHS)

IHS says that OLED smartphone revenue reached a record high in the quarter - $5.11 billion (up 32.4% from the $3.86 billion in Q2 2017). SDC's market share in the OLED smartphone display market is 98.5% ($5.03 billion). IHS actually expects SDC's market share to increase slightly to 98.8% in Q4 2017.

Sigmaintell: LGD shipped 1.2 million smartphone AMOLED panels in Q3 2017

China-based Sigmaintell estimates that the smartphone display shipments were about 530 million units in Q3 2017, with SDC ranking as the top vendor (with 106 million panels). LG display shipments were down 28% (to 33 million units).

LG V30 photo

Sigmaintell estimates that LG Display shipped 1.2 million smartphone AMOLED panels. LGD is currently shipping a single smartphone AMOLED panel, a 6" 1440x2880 (537 PPI) one used in LG's own V30 and Google's Pixel 2 XL. Reviewers and consumers alike were disappointed in LG's AMOLED performance.

Visionox demonstrates new OLED panels and flexible OLED prototypes

Visionox participated at the 19th China International Hi-Tech Fair opened in Shenzhen, and the company demonstrated several new OLED prototype panels. Visionox demonstrate several "full-screen" AMOLEDs, including a 6.01" one and a 5.99" flexible one.

Visionox booth at the Shenzhen hi-tech fair 2017

According to the Chinese report, Visionox has stated its flexible OLED "roadmap" as the company wants to start with curved panels, then move to foldable and finally to stretchable displays. Visionox says it has achieved mass production technology for curved OLEDs, but according to our information its first flexible AMOLED fab will only begin production in the summer of 2018.

KGI: Apple will release two OLED iPhones in 2018, sized 5.8" and 6.5"

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimates that Apple will launch three new iPhone models in 2018. Two of these will sport OLED displays, the 5.8" and 6.5" models. According to Kuo, all of Apple's iPhones in 2018 will have the same full-screen notched design used in the iPhone X.

Apple iPhone Lineup 2018 estimation (KGI forecast, Nov-2017)

Note that the image above, produced by KGI, is just a render. Kuo sees the 5.8" iPhone (X2?) using the same resolution as the iPhone X (1125x2436, 458 PPI). The 6.5" model will actually sport a higher density (480 to 500 PPI).

The iPhone X has a different diamond pixel structure than Samsung's Galaxy displays

Samsung introduced the Diamond Pixel display architecture back in 2013 when it launched the Galaxy S4 smartphone, and since then it has adopted this sub-pixel scheme in all of its OLED displays (replacing the previous PenTile scheme).

Galaxy (right) vs iPhone X (left) Diamond Pixel structure

The 2014 Galaxy S5 introduced a different Diamond Pixel scheme which Samsung uses till today. DisplayMate tested the Apple iPhone X and it turns out that Apple's OLED, even though it is produced by Samsung Display, uses a slightly different Diamond Pixels - the fill factor of Apple's display is higher than in the Galaxy phones. You can see the two different displays in the macro photos above (courtesy of Display Mate). The iPhone X OLED is on the left, while the right shows the Galaxy OLED.

Apple admits that burn-in could occur in the iPhone X OLED

Following the launch of LG's P-OLED displays, we had many recent discussions and reports of OLED burn-in and Image-Retention. Apple now released a support document for the iPhone X, its first OLED phones, in which it warns users that “image persistence” or “burn-in” is an "expected behavior".

Apple iPhone X side photo

Apple says it engineered the display to be the best in the industry in reducing the effect of OLED burn-in, though. Apple also says that its OLED could have noticeable but slight shifts in color and hue when seen off-angle. The iPhone X has a 5.8" 1125x2436 Samsung-made Super AMOLED display.

Tom's Guide: the iPhone X has the best OLED display on the market

Tom's guide posted an interesting review that compares the OLED display of the iPhone X (5.8" 1125x2436) to the OLED displays of the Galaxy Note 8 (6.3" 2960x1440) and the Google Pixel 2 XL (LGD 6" 2960x1440 P-OLED). This is Apple's first OLED phone, but Tom's Guide finds it superior to the OLEDs used by the other phones, especially if you want a realistic color reproduction.

OLED viewing angles comparison (Nov 2017, Tom's Guide)

The review shows how the iPhone is brighter than the other displays (574 nits, compared to 438 nits no the Pixel 2 XL and 408 nits on the Note 8. This test was performed for full-screen content. The Note 8 can actually achieve 1,240 nits but on specialized conditions and only when a small part of the screen is active.

Apple will charge $279 to fix the OLED display in the iPhone X

Apple's OLED iPhone X is an expensive device - the basic model costs $999 - but it won't stop here. Apple announced the costs of repairing the new flagship smartphones, and these are considerable higher compared to Apple's other phones.

Apple iPhone X photo

Fixing the SDC 5.8" 1125x2436 flexible Super AMOLED outside of the warranty will cost $279, over $100 more than the cost of fixing the display of the iPhone 8 ($149) or iPhone 8 Plus ($169). Apple offers its Care+ plan that extends its initial 90-day coverage to 2 years, which may be a wise option due to the high cost of repairs. The Care+ package costs $199 and a screen repair will then cost $29.