Apple’s plan on using OLED displays on the iPhone 8 in 2017 depends on a Japanese company called Canon Tokki Corp. Located among the rice fields in the city of Mitsuke in Niigata, the relatively unknown company has a complete monopoly over making machines that can manufacture OLED panels.
The company has been working on manufacturing equipment used by companies to create OLED displays for over two decades. The problem here is that it is unable to keep up with the demand from its customers, with its annual production capacity of 10 machines per year not helping things much.
The demand for OLED displays is at a rise and companies like Sharp, LG, and Samsung are looking to increase their output. However, they can only do so if they have access to the proper equipment. Canon Tokki’s backlog, however, has continued to increase despite the company doubling its output in 2016. This bottleneck has raised doubts on whether Apple will be able to find additional OLED suppliers for its 2017 iPhone or not.
“We are doing all we can to increase output and make that wait shorter,” said Chief Executive Officer Teruhisa Tsugami, adding that demand from display makers, including Samsung Display Co., LG Display Co. and Sharp Corp., will remain strong for the next three years.
The machine in question from Canon Tokki is more of a production line in its own that stretches over 100 meters, with robotic arms doing most of the work.
Canon Tokki’s OLED equipment is popular among display manufacturing companies because the company uses a patented method to align the glass pane with a fine metal mesh to ensure that the margin of error is very low.
It has been reported multiple times that Apple plans on using curved OLED display on at least one variant of the iPhone 8. The company wanted to use OLED panels on all variants of the 2017 iPhone but will be forced to keep it exclusive to a premium Plus variant due to supply constraints.
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