A new report claims that Sharp and Japan Display are also gearing up to get OLED orders from Apple this year. Right now, Samsung is the sole supplier of OLED panels to Apple, with LG Display expected to join the supply chain this year.
Citing industry sources, the report claims that there is a high potential for LG Display to become an OLED panel supplier for Apple this year. It also claims that Sharp, now owned by Foxconn, will start producing OLED panels from the second quarter of this year. It will manage to beat out Japan Display which is still in the process of setting up its OLED production facility after receiving a bailout from the Japanese government. Sharp also intends to manufacture flexible OLED panels which it plans to use in its own premium smartphone due to launch later this year.
The report from DigiTimes also claims that OLED production capacity from all major OLED makers in Japan, China, and Korea will surpass demand in the next few years. To counteract the oversupply, OLED displays will also start being used in other consumer electronic items.
While we may see Sharp, JDI, and LG Display start manufacturing OLED panels from this year, the quality of the panels remains to be seen. Last year, LG Display supplied OLED panel for the Pixel 2 XL which suffered from numerous issues and was at least 4-5 generations behind that of Samsung’s latest OLED panel in terms of quality.
Apple is expected to launch three new iPhones this year, with two variants making use of an OLED display. Apple already struggled to secure a steady supply of OLED panels from Samsung in 2017 for the iPhone X, so the company has been looking for alternate suppliers. It has reportedly invested billions of dollars in LG Display for this. With at least two new iPhones this year making use of an OLED panel, Apple needs to secure a steady supply of OLED panels from a manufacturer other than Samsung to prevent any disruption in its supply chain.