Apple set for an all-OLED iPhone line-up, ditching LCD displays

Apple are expected to switch to an all-OLED iPhone line-up by as early as next year. The organic light-emitting diode displays will replace the current LCD displays, allowing for a more flexible handset design.

Previously, the Wall Street Journal have also hinted at Apple switching to a complete OLED line-up, suggesting that Japan Display (Apple’s LCD panel supplier) are preparing for contingency plans when the switch eventually goes ahead.

The WSJ said:

Japan Display Inc. is in advanced talks with Taiwan’s TPK Holdings Co. and Chinese state-owned Silk Road Fund about an investment that would include a stake of about 30% with the possibility of greater control later, people familiar with the matter said.

More than half of Japan Display’s revenue in the year ended March 2018 came from Apple. But in the latest lineup of iPhones, only the XR uses liquid-crystal displays, the type in which Japan Display specializes, and that model has fallen far short of Apple’s expectations.”

Several reports indicate that Apple have recently called for their partners to reduce iPhone product whilst also slashing the price of the iPhone XR in China in a bid to push sales. Both that price drop and production cut follow a guidance downgrade of 2019’s Q1.

Current market performance

In November, the tech giant forecast revenue of anywhere between $89 to $93 for 2019 Q1, however, the current expected revenue is slightly lower at $84 billion, hence the need to push iPhone XR sales. In May 2018, a report claimed that Apple’s switch to a full OLED iPhone lineup would be complete this year, however, analysts have since argued that such a time frame is unrealistic.

Push to end reliance on rivals

The switch to OLED is likely to be down to not only diversification purposes but also to end Apple’s reliance on Samsung. Despite being one of their biggest market rivals, Samsung have supplied displays for the iPhone X, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

LG Display are reportedly being called on by Apple to build the OLED display production facilities. Apple have even said to have purchased equipment to construct a development site in Taiwan, complete with OLED panel research.