Apple Seeks OLED Supplier To Replace ‘Terrible’ iPhone Display
It’s a well-known fact that the iPhone has a terrible display screen.
In fact, if you pick up a high-end smartphone these days and chances are it will have a crisp, energy-sipping organic LED display — unless it’s an iPhone.
Now Apple who are desperately trying to slow a slump in demand for the iPhone’s is looking to move to OLED screens in future smartphones and this means finding a supplier or partner who has the capacity to deliver multiple supplies.
According to Bloomberg, Japanese suppliers are under pressure to expand their manufacturing operations. Currently Apple, which usually prefers to have multiple suppliers, is in negotiations with Sharp and Japan Display, to procure OLED Display screens.
Initial costs for a manufacturer could reach $2 billion for each Company, stretching their finances even before they get any firm orders. Even so, they may not have a choice.
One option for Japanese suppliers would be to enter into a vendor financing agreement, using funds from Apple to build up operations and paying it back through sales of OLED screens. It’s a risky strategy, and one that backfired for GT Advanced Technologies Inc. in 2014. Apple lined up $578 million in prepayment loans for GT Advanced so that it could feature tough sapphire screens for the iPhone 6. The manufacturer failed to deliver material of acceptable quality, and GT Advanced later sought bankruptcy protection.
“If they don’t invest in OLED, they will have to get out of the smartphone supplier business altogether,” said Takeo Miyamoto, an analyst at MUFJ Morgan Stanley.
The smartphone industry is shifting away from liquid-crystal displays, or LCDs, which used to be on almost every phone and remains the standard for TVs.
Samsung Electronics who are Apple’s biggest competitor currently dominates the market for smartphone OLEDs, making up 99 percent of shipments in the first half, according to IHS Markit.
The Industry acknowledges that Apple has lagged behind its rivals in embracing OLEDs. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Google’s new Pixel phones feature OLED screens, and dozens of models from Motorola, Oppo, HTC and other manufacturers also use the displays.
Not surprisingly, a representative from Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment on its OLED plans.
What ChannelNews has been told is that Apple is currently in talks with Samsung and if a deal is struck it will be a major blow to Sharp that was recently acquired by Foxconn the Company that builds a large proportion of Apple products.