Apple’s iPhone 8 will be the first iPhone in history to feature an OLED screen like the ones found on competing handsets from Samsung. Interestingly, Apple’s frenemy Samsung is going to be the sole supplier of OLED displays for Apple’s best iPhone this year. But Apple is looking to fix this OLED “problem” in the years that follow, mostly since Samsung alone won’t be able to fulfill Apple’s iPhone needs.
Various reports have revealed that Samsung and other display makers including LG and Japan Display will invest heavily in OLED factories now that Apple is moving from LCD screens to OLED. Now, a new report from Bloomberg adds massive Chinese conglomerate BOE Technology Group Co. to that list.
BOE has already sent OLED screens to Apple for testing, but it’s unclear whether they’ve been deemed suitable for the next-gen iPhone — that’s the 2018 iPhone, not the iPhone 8 coming out this year.
BOE is one of China’s largest display panel makers, and it’s looking to invest $14.5 billion building two AMOLED plants in Sichuan in anticipation of future business. The iPhone is one of BOE’s targets, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Apple’s OLED adoption will convince many other smartphone makers to follow suit, numerous reports have suggested, even though OLED screens have been around for years.
That means even if you’re not an iPhone user, you future smartphones might pack high-quality OLED screens thanks to Apple.
Apple reportedly ordered some 160 million OLED screens from Samsung this year, but that won’t be enough to equip all 2017 iPhones with OLED displays. Instead, only the iPhone 8 will get the OLED treatment, while the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus will stick to LCD screens. Samsung is also setting aside about 60 million OLED screens for its Galaxy S8 phones.
In the future, Apple will want all of its iPhones to have OLED displays, and the same probably goes for other products it sells. Android device makers, in turn, will likely move to OLED displays as supply increases and OLED screens become even more affordable.
Samsung Display, which has 95% of the OLED market according to the same report, will see tremendous competition in the coming years. BOE alone is expected to mass-produce 1.6 million square meters of flexible OLED glass substrates per year once its two factories come online, which is slightly more than what researchers from IHS estimate for this year’s total global OLED production.