Apple: LG OLED Display on Next Gen iPhone Models
Apple’s plan to switch from conventional liquid crystal display (LCD), screens on its iPhone series to more advanced organic light emitting diode (OLED), panels for its next generation iPhone models to be introduced next year. This appears to represent a bonanza for Samsung Display, which is the world’s biggest producer of OLED mobile phone panels, with a market share of more than 90%.
OLED is emerging as the next big battleground in screen technology, which until recently has revolved around LCD. OLED displays are thinner and more flexible, allowing smartphone makers to produce devices that are curved and sleek in design. In addition, OLED offers better color contrast and energy efficiency than LCD panels. Because OLED eliminates the need for bulky backlights, TVs as thin as a credit card can be produced
However, Apple’s move also represents an opportunity as well as a vindication for LG Display, which has become the world’s largest producer of large OLED TVs and has been seeking to enter the market for small OLED panels in a major way since Apple can not exclusively relied on Samsung for the panels alone. LG Display, the South Korean rival to Samsung Display, knew that Apple, with its emphasis on finding dual suppliers to ensure both production security and cost competitiveness, would be the means to achieve that goal.
The Nikkei Asian Review reported earlier in July that the U.S. smartphone maker is scheduled to use OLED displays for all new iPhone models starting in the second half of 2018.
Furthermore, Kuo says that LG can offer improved collaboration with other industry suppliers, thus increasing shipment yield rate.
Samsung is now Apple’s sole iPhone OLED panel supplier across front- and back-end manufacturing. We think LGD could institute a similar production model. However, considering its strengths are in front-end process, collaborating with a specialized back- end process provider like GIS will, in our view, significantly boost iPhone OLED panel output rate.
Lastly, Kuo explains that it’s likely LG can team up with GIS for improved lamination experience with MegaSite and integration with Foxconn manufacturing facilities:
GIS likely favored to team up with LGD in OLED for credentials in lamination, experience with MegaSite & advantages of vertical integration with Hon Hai.
LG Display would not comment on whether it had secured an agreement with Apple to produce OLED panels for its smartphones. Apple imposes strict confidentiality, terms on its suppliers. But analysts said there could be no other explanation for the investment decision and speculated that Apple will provide additional investment capital to LG Display to expand its production facilities. “It makes sense for Apple to cooperate with LG because it cannot accept a situation where it relies exclusively on Samsung for the panels,” said an industry observer. LG Display has previously been a major supplier of LCD panels for Apple iPhones.
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