Article last updated on: Jan 30, 2019

OLED is a new display technology, used to create thin, power efficient and bright displays. Today OLEDs are used in mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras and even TV sets - as OLEDs are considered the best display technology ever.

Apple's OLED iPhone

Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone X is the company's first OLED Phone - with a 5.8" 1125x2436 (458 PPI) flexible Super AMOLED display that covers almost the entire front of the phone, HDR, dual lens camera, a Hexa-core A11 Bionic CPU, 3GB of RAM and 64/256 GB of storage.

Apple iPhone X photo

The iPhone X carries a high price tag, starting at $999. iPhone X sales were lower than expected, which caused problems at Apple's supplier, including Samsung Display who produces the OLED displays for Apple.

It is still not clear what are Apple's plans for 2018, but it seems likely that Apple will introduce three new iPhones this year. The main model will still use an LCDs, but there will be two higher-end OLED models - a replacement for the iPhone X with a 5.8" AMOLED and a larger 6.3" or 6.5" variant. According to reports Apple wanted LG display to supply it with the larger OLED displays, but it is not clear whether LG Display will be ready with the quantities and quality Apple requires this year.

The OLED Apple Watch

The iPhone X is not Apple's first product to adopt an OLED display, though. In April 2015 Apple launched its first wearable device, the Apple Watch which used a flexible AMOLED display (made by LG Display). All Apple Watch products to date continue to use LGD's flexible OLEDs. OLED displays are especially suitable for wearable devices - as the displays are thinner and lighter than LCD displays, and are more power efficient (especially if you tweak the UI to suit the special OLED properties).



Apple Watch photo

Apple OLED MacBook Pro

Apple's MacBook Pro range of high-end laptops started adopting an OLED Touch Bar instead of the traditional function keys in 2016. The display itself is either a 13" or a 15" LCD.

Apple MacBook Pro 2016 photo

The OLED strip is supported by most of Apple's applications and can show commonly used emojis in messaging applications, bookmarks while you browse and other context-activated options. It also includes a Touch ID sensor that is activated for example when you wish to pay online (on supported web stores). Apple released an API to developers can support the Touch Bar in third-party applications.

The latest Apple OLED news:

Samsung is asking Apple to compensate it for not reaching its iPhone OLED agreed order quantities

According to a report from Korea, when Apple secured its flexible AMOLED supply from Samsung for the iPhone X (and later XS and XS Plus) it committed to a minimum order quantity. As sales of the iPhones were slower than expected, the company did not reach its MOQ, and is now facing penalties of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Apple iPhone X photo

It seems as if Apple is reluctant to pay the penalty (which isn't a big surprise) and is offering some alternative routes for Samsung - including the option of ordering OLED displays for future iPads or laptops (this coincides with a report from Korea last month).

TPK decided not to invest in Japan Display, Apple may step up and assist

Japan Display was supposed to get a $2.1 bailout deal led by Taiwan's TPK and the Harvest Group. TPK was supposed to invest $230 million, but the display maker announced that it decided not to invest in Japan Display after all. JDI also says that it has not yet received a positive commitment from other potential investors.

JDI did disclose that it approached Apple for help (JDI is a major LCD supplier to Apple) and Apple is considering to waive its debt, guarantee display orders and also invest around $185 million directly in JDI.

Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to switch to an all-OLED iPhone lineup in 2020

Respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that he expects Apple to switch to an all-OLED iPhone lineup in 2020 - with a high-end 6.7" and 5.4" models and a lower-end 6.1" one. The higher-end modules will also support 5G connectivity.

This confirms WSJ's report from January 2019. It is estimated by most analysts taht Apple's 2019 iPhone lineup will sport similar displays to its 2018 one (i.e. OLED on high-end modules and an LCD on the lower-end one).

Korean site suggests that Apple is considering adopting AMOLED displays in future iPads and Laptops

In February 2019 Samsung Display started to mass produce its new 15.6" 3840x2160 OLED display panels, and some of the first 2019 OLED laptops are already shipping.

HP Spectre x360 15 photo

Korea-site The Elec says that according to its sources, Apple is "considering adoption" of OLED displays in its Pro laptop and tablets lines. The iPad Pro will adopt an 11" OLED while the MacBook Pro will adopt a 15.6" one.

Samsung says its display earnings were lower than expected in Q1 2019

Samsung Electronics announced that it expects its first quarter earnings to be below market expectations - due to weakness in its display and memory businesses.

Samsung says that LCD prices have dropped more than expected and demand for its flexible OLED also declined. Analysts from Susquehanna Financial Group estimate that a weak smartphone market and a "dramatic" decline of Apple iPhone OLED orders caused Samsung Display's revenue to decline around 50% compared to Q4 2018.

ETNews: SDC sent 7.2" foldable OLED samples to Apple and Google

Korea's ETNews reports that Samsung has shipped foldable OLED display samples to both Apple And Google. According to the report, the displays sent to Apple were 7.2" in size (just slightly smaller than the Galaxy Fold OLED display).

Samsung Galaxy Fold photo

This is hardly a surprise - it's highly likely that all smartphone brands are now looking into foldable displays for next generation devices - and all leading brands are also likely to want to design prototypes and start looking at displays.

ETNews: Samsung to supply Apple with Y-OCTA OLEDs for some of its 2019 iPhones

According to Korean publication ETNews, Samsung is aiming to supply Apple with its latest Y-OCTA OLED panels for Apple's 2019 iPhones. Y-OCTA (or Youm On-Cell Touch AMOLED) is Samsung's term for its on-cell touch flexible AMOLED technology. Samsung Y-OCTA vs add-on touch (IHS)

Y-OCTA panels are thinner than Samsung's previous flexible Add-On Touch panels as the touch sensor is deposited directly on the encapsulation (TFE) layer. The optical features are also better as the touch layer is below the polarizer and enables the use of a non-ITO grid, there's no need for a support film (see image above) and the number of layers is lower.

ETNews: LGD to start shipping OLED panels to Apple in December 2018

According to ETNews, Apple has contracted LG Display to start producing OLED panels for its smartphones. LG Display will produce the new OLEDs at its E6 production line in Paju, and will start shipping panels to Apple in December 2018.

Apple iPhone XS photo

The report says that LGD will ship around 400,000 panels to Apple by the end of 2018. The cost of each panel is around $90. This deal is important for LGD, and also for Apple as it wants to diversify its OLED supplier base. According to other reports, these LGD panels will only be used as repair panels by Apple, and will not be integrated into new iPhones.

The 4th International TADF Workshop 2019The 4th International TADF Workshop 2019