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.

Apple iPhone 12 photo

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.

BOE aims to supply Apple's with LTPO panels to the iPhone 15 Pro in 2023

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.

Apple iPhone 12 photo

According to reports in Korea, for Apple's 2014 models, which will be introduced in 2022, BOE aims to supply similar panels (to standard models). BOE is also aiming to be the producer of Apple's iPhone 15 Pro series in 2023. The company is looking to introduce LTPO technology at its B12 AMOLED line at Chongqing, the line which has only recently started production.

DSCC: miniLED IT panels are more expensive to produce than tandem OLED panels

DSCC posted an interesting article, comparing the production costs of OLED vs mini-LED panels for IT. DSCC estimates that for tablets and notebooks, a tandem structure will be used, and the panels will be based on rigid substrates.

Mini-LED vs OLED IT panel production cost comparison (2021-2025, DSCC)

In the chart above you see a production cost comparison, between 2021 and 2025, for 12.9" panels. DSCC looks at two OLED production options: a tandem OLED panel with an LTPO backplane produced in a 6-Gen fab, and a similar panel that uses an Oxide-TFT backplane and produced in a larger 8.5-Gen fab. As you can see, OLED panels are more cost effective, and will remain so throughout the forecast period.

Interview with the CEO of OTFT developer SmartKem

UK-based SmartKem develops a new class of flexible high-mobility OTFT display backplane technologies. The company provides customized solutions involving molecular synthesis, electronic prototyping and on-site technology transfer support.

As Smartkem is developing new backplane materials for OLEDs, ePaper and mini-LED devices, we discuss its technology and business with the company's CEO and chairman, Ian Jenks.

A discussion on MicroLED efficiency

MicroLED technology is regarded by many as a highly promising display technology, that could rival OLED in many applications in the future. We have been following microLEDs since 2018 via MicroLED-Info and are indeed excited by the progress and potential of this display technology.

MicroLED device efficiency by chip size (University of Central Florida, AUO)

Peak EQE of RGB micro-LED as a function of LED chip size (source: Crystals)

One of the most talked-about advantages of microLED displays compared to OLEDs is the power efficiency. MicroLEDs are based on in-organic LEDs, which are inherently much more efficient than organic LEDs.

UBI: Samsung Display updates its A3 fab to support LTPO and Y-OCTA

Samsung Display is updating its A3 flexible OLED production line, to support two new technologies. The TFT process is being updated, for some of the capacity, to Apple's LTPO technology. LTPO is currently used in Apple's Watch displays, but next-generation iPhones will adopt it as well.

SDC A3 fab: Y-OCTA and LTPO modifications (UBI)

According to UBI, Samsung will dedicate 75,000 monthly substrates to produce smartphone LTPO displays. According to some reports, Samsung has also developed its own backplane technology which is similar to LTPO, it could be that some of this capacity will be used for Samsung's own displays.

Coherent reports a positive Q4 2019 and sees an increase in OLED system orders

Photonics-based solutions provider Coherent reported its financial results for Q4 2019 - with revenues of $320.8 million, and a net profit of $5.8 million. The company says that these are encouraging results, and full-year outlook is improving.

LTPS laser annealing photo

Coherent's display orders were up significantly for LineBeam systems and service. These systems orders are all destined to China, and the increase in service orders "reflects higher demand for OLED-equipped smartphones in Q4 2019". Orders for OLED cutting using short pulse and CO2 lasers were also up.

IHS: smartphone AMOLED shipments reached a record high of 146 million units in Q3 2019

IHS Markit says that smartphone AMOLED shipments reached 146 million in Q3 2019 - a record high, and up from 93 million in the second quarter. LTPS LCD shipments reached 144 million - and this is the first quarter in which AMOLED shipments surpassed LTPS LCD shipments. a-SI LCD is still the leading technology with shipments of 177 million.

Smartphone display market share (2016-2019, IHS)

Following the increased demand for AMOLED displays, Samsung Display regained its leading position in the market (with a 29% market share), replacing BOE. The third largest suppler is Tianma.

Coherent sees the OLED equipment market starting to recover in 2020

Photonics-based solutions provider Coherent reported its financial results for Q3 2019 - revenues of $335.5 million and a non-GAAP gross profit of $122 million.

LTPS laser annealing photo

Regarding the OLED market, Coherent says that it finally started to receive some new orders for OLED equipment (ELA), following a "stretch" where there were no new system orders. Coherent says that it looks forward to the OLED ramp - with 2020 as a "bit of a recovery over 2019" - but the real strength coming in 2021 and 2022.

TCL starts flexible OLED pilot production at its Wuhan CSoT fab

China-based display maker TCL announced that its 6-Gen LTPS flexible AMOLED production line in Wuhan has commenced operation. The company already achieved some design wins with "top-class" phone makers and is expected to start shipping OLED displays to its customers in Q4 2019.

TCL's production line in Wuhan (which is actually owned by the company's subsidiary CSoT) will have a production capacity of 45,000 6-Gen substrates.

Cambridge Isotope Laboratories - Deutreated Reagents and High-Purity Gases for OLEDsCambridge Isotope Laboratories - Deutreated Reagents and High-Purity Gases for OLEDs