Apple is all set to make the switch to OLED displays with the iPhone 8 later this year, and if reports are anything to go by, the company will switch its entire lineup to OLED displays starting from 2018. A report from Trendforce says that Apple’s move to OLED panels will greatly accelerate the panel’s adoption in the smartphone market, with the adoption rate hitting 50% by 2020.
The very news of Apple switching over to OLED panels for the iPhone has led many Chinese companies to change their roadmap. Chinese companies like BOE and Tianma have changed their plans of setting up an LTPS panel display factory to produce OLED panels. Similarly, many other Chinese suppliers are now trying to build an OLED factory to cater to Apple’s demand.
Apple’s move has been closely watched by its competitors. The reveal of the next iPhone’s specifications has accelerated the deployment of AMOLED displays for other smartphone brands. Panel makers, especially those from China, are hastily building up their AMOLED manufacturing capacity as well.
However, they are all hitting the same roadblock. The equipment required to produce OLED displays is in short supply, with Samsung getting priority access to whatever equipment is being produced. The Gen-6 half-cut machine required for OLED panels is manufactured by Tokki, a Canon subsidiary. The equipment being produced by the company is in short supply as the company has given Samsung a priority access to them, which is not surprising since Samsung is currently the world’s largest OLED manufacturer and absolutely dominates the market in terms of technology and market share.
With Samsung supplying Apple with OLED panels for the iPhone 8, the latter’s needs for this year are sorted. However, Apple does not like to rely on one supplier for iPhone components and the company is already on the lookout for new OLED suppliers for its 2018 iPhones.