A new WSJ report claims that Apple plans to switch entirely to OLED display panels for its 2020 iPhone lineup. Citing sources, the report says the move will be done to allow for “more flexible handset design.”
This is a rumor that has cropped up numerous times over the last couple of years. Apple first switched to OLED panels with the iPhone X in 2017, though it continued using LCD panels on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. In 2018, the company switched to OLED panels for two of the three iPhones it launched and it is expected to follow the same trend for its 2019 iPhone lineup as well where the iPhone XR successor will continue to feature an LCD panel.
While Apple might have liked to switch to OLED panels across its entire iPhone lineup in 2019 itself, it is not possible due to the lack of suppliers in the market. Right now, Samsung dominates the OLED supply chain with a market share of over 95%.
The exclusivity means that Apple has to pay Samsung a high price for the OLED panels. LG Display and BOE are in the process of setting up their own OLED factories and once they start producing OLED panels on a scale, Apple will no longer have to rely on Samsung for its OLED panel requirements.
LG Display has set up its OLED production facilities but has been struggling to mass produce quality OLED panels as required by Apple. It is rumored to have supplied a few million OLED panels to Apple for the iPhone XS Max.
The move will negatively affect Apple’s current LCD panel supplier Japan Display which is currently engaged in talks with Taiwan’s TPK Holdings and Silk Road Fund for a bailout package that would include handing over 30 percent of the stake of the company.
Compared to LCD panels, OLED displays offer an infinite contrast, higher brightness levels, wider color gamut, vivid color reproduction, and more.