Since Apple’s last release was such a big hit this year, they plan on bringing an even more impressive array of features to the table for further smartphones. One major change for the next release is fitting the screens with a more vibrant OLED technology.
Many other companies have already started using OLED screens for their smartphones. However, they are harder to produce and also drain the battery a lot faster than AMOLED, IPS, LCD, TFT, or Retina. Many companies flood the market with high OLED screen demands. So, is Apple going to make up for lost space in due time?
Supply and Demand Ratio
Currently, there are only four major suppliers of OLED screens. One of them is the giant South-Korean company, Samsung. The list further includes big names in screen technology development, such as LG Display, Japan Display Co., and Sharp Corp.
Apple demands no less than 100 million OLED units over the course of a single year from Samsung. However, the South Korean company may not be able to deliver on such a high demand. The tech giant is currently cutting back on OLED screen supply for its own mobile division’s smartphone. Furthermore, Apple is at the mercy of the suppliers, due to low yield rates and increasing demand.
During the holiday quarter of 2015, Apple shipped roughly 75 million iPhones. By the last three months of 2017, analysts estimate that another 90 million could be sold worldwide. Even though constraints in screen production will continue into 2018, Apple still plans to ship at least one new iPhone with OLED screen for the 10th anniversary of the smartphone’s debut.
Apple Marketing Strategy
The OLED screen supply is vital for Apple’s marketing strategy. In the past, the California-based company made good use of visible changes in display and screen size, using these features as selling points. For example, it was the iPhone 4, back in 2010, that first brought to light the Retina Display. In 2012, Apple introduced a display size increase for the iPhone 5 which took off in 2014 with the iPhone 6 and a large 5.5-inch screen option.
Han Sang-beom, the LG Display Chief Executive Officer admits that the company has severely underestimated the use of OLED screen technology in gadgets smaller than televisions or other electronics.
“It’s true that we are late in OLED investment for smaller electronics devices compared to that of televisions”, said Han Sang-beom earlier this year.
Others are skeptical about the whole matter. “There is all this talk about OLEDs, but I’m not at all sure about their future”, said Tai Jeng Wu, President of Sharp Corp.
Hence, 2017 announces a single-company affair with Samsung as the main OLED screen supplier for future Apple projects.
This is also not the first rodeo for Apple in terms of supply problems. The California company financed a sole supplier for sapphire screens back in 2014, namely GT Advanced Technologies Inc. In spite of its efforts, the manufacturer was not able to deliver the glass for Apple’s iPhone 6 on time. Ultimately, this ended up with the GT Advanced seeking bankruptcy protection.
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