Apple To Use OLED Screens In 2018 iPhones – Report

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Next generation of iPhones will utilise OLED panels, a decision that has impacted Apple’s exiting screen suppliers

All future Apple iPhone will reportedly utilise organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels, in a move that has depressed the stock price of some of Apple’s existing screen suppliers.

According to a report from South Korea’s Electronic Times, the firm will use OLED displays in future iPhones, thanks to its technology which make images appear brighter and sharper compared to existing liquid crystal display (LCD) smartphone screens.

The report comes after it was rumoured in March that Apple is developing next-generation MicroLED screens for use in its devices.

OLED screens?

The report suggested that Apple has made a huge investment and the development is taking place in a secret manufacturing plant in California. MicroLED screens can make gadgets thinner, brighter and it does use less power compared with current OLED displays.

The OLED report meanwhile from South Korea citing unnamed industry sources suggested that Apple has recently started planning three new iPhone models for next year, and it has decided that all of them would have OLED panels.

It should be remembered that currently only the iPhone X uses OLED display technology, while the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus both have LCD screens.

OLED screens typically offer richer displays, but they are also more expensive than LCD panels.

When news of the display change was reported, it sent the shares of some iPhone display suppliers down. Shares in Japan Display for example fell as much as 21 percent, whereas shares in Sharp declined as much as 4.3 percent.

Both Japan Display and Sharp are currently unable to mass produce OLEDs.

There is no comment or reaction from any of the companies mentioned above.

Supply chain

Apple’s decision to utilise OLED panels comes as President Trump seeks to persuade tech firms to bring their development and manufacturing back to America.

Last year Apple pledged a $1 billion (£776m) fund to promote advanced manufacturing jobs in the United States.

And any decision that Apple makes on the technology it uses in its devices is likely to have an impact on its supply chain.

This was starkly illustrated last year when British chip designer Imagination Technologies put itself up for sale after its chip licensing row with Apple threatened its survival.

Imagination had revealed in April 2017 that Apple planned to stop paying it royalties for the graphics technology used in iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and other mobile devices. That news crashed the shares in the UK company by at least 60 percent.

This was because Apple was Imagination’s largest customer, and accounted for around half its annual revenue. It is also an 8 percent shareholder, but had previously denied any intention to buy the British firm.

Then to add insult to injury, Apple also rented an office not far from the headquarters of Imagination Technologies fuelling concerns it was poaching key staff.

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