According to a new report today, Japan Display OLED iPhone screens might still be at least two years away.
For its flagship iPhone models, Apple has worked hard to diversify its supply chain for OLED screens, working with various providers to break Samsung’s monopoly— even injecting resources into two of them.
Samsung has a powerful technical lead over other producers of OLED screens and was the only firm able to satisfy the quality and quantity manufacturing demands of Apple for the iPhone X family. LG, Japan Display, and BOE hope to win future orders, however.
In working to take extra vendors on board, Apple has taken a very active position. The Cupertino company allegedly produced a huge $2.7B investment in set-up expenses for LG OLED manufacturing lines back in 2017 in exchange for repayment over time and lines used solely for iPhone screens. That seemed to to have paid off, with LG now supposed to have two manufacturing lines producing OLED screens for iPhones this year.
It is also noted that Chinese display manufacturer BOE is close to winning Apple’s first-ever OLED screen orders, but supplies are not anticipated to start until next year.
Which takes us to Japan Display’s long-running saga. Nearly twice the company has gone bust. It was rescued by a government bailout of $636 M back in 2016 but was so slow to acknowledge the change from LCD to OLED in the sector that it ran into trouble again. A second bailout plan was allegedly completed back in April, assisted by Apple agreeing to wait for a $1.5B loan back in 2015 to be repaid.
Things began unraveling in June, after a major backer pulled out before things were solved in a reported $100 M with Apple chipping.
Japan Display not imminent OLED iPhone screens
A piece in the Japan Times today, however, suggests we may not see any Japan Display OLED iPhone screens in the near future. It suggests that two years from now will be the earliest time products to roll off a scheduled OLED production line.
Lee cited the position of the company as an Apple provider (for LCD iPhones and Apple Watches OLED screens) as proof of the quality of its products.