Date: Thursday, March 3rd, 2016, 08:17
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor
It looks like Apple will switch over to an OLED display for its next-gen iPhones as soon as 2017, a year earlier than previous estimates and in the face of initial supply constraints.
Sources close to the story have said that Apple has reached out to South Korean display suppliers LG and Samsung in December to discuss the viability of ramping up OLED production in time for next year’s iPhone launch, Nikkei reports. Along with the two tech companies, Apple also informed the appropriate industry associations of the potential change.
Should Apple go with OLED, it would be able to exploit certain advantages, such as creating a more curved handset design. Still, manufacturers might not have enough time to ensure panel reliability in conjunction with a potentially unconventional design, and Apple wants to bring OLED to market as soon as possible.
It’s been speculated that Apple is looking towards OLED to offset a predicted stall in iPhone sales, although this stall isn’t anticipated in 2017. Even so, Apple is thought to be building conditions into its contracts with panel makers that allow for timeline adjustments, facilitating an earlier-than-expected start.
Sharp is also said to be developing its own OLED operation, though a protracted Foxconn takeover process could postpone such investments.
Apple usually reserves major component changes for numbered iPhone releases, such as this year’s expected iPhone 7 redesign, though the company did integrate an entirely new 3D Touch subsystem in the “off year” iPhone 6s. Despite reports to the contrary, noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a solid track record when it comes to predicting Apple’s product pipeline, said he doesn’t expect iPhone to go OLED until 2019.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.