Expect future iPhone models to ship with custom OLED panels similar to the one on the iPhone X, causing the rest of the mobile industry to seek alternatives. Apple’s plans for 2018 and beyond are reportedly making it difficult for competitors in China to get their hands on the technology. All of them, however, do have plans in place to respond and make adjustments so that their own products can still ship with high-end displays.
The biggest Chinese brands are likely to transition over to miniature LED panels, according to DigiTimes.
Apple is apparently claiming most of the OLED panels in production this year. Companies including Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo are being forced to switch over to a different technology as upcoming iPhone models will claim what’s available from Samsung and LG in terms of displays. If competitors can’t get their hands on everything they need, there’s no reason to take anything at all. So they’re making the decision to choose an alternative.
Mini-LED, the new display technology entering production in June, should be used on about 15 million mobile devices in 2018. But the number greatly expands when you consider that it’ll also be used on other products like televisions and displays in the months and years ahead.
The competitors in China who are being pushed aside by Apple will be launching their mini-LED panel-based phones in the second half of the year, meaning until then it’s likely LCD panels are the go-to display technology. Samsung provides most of the world’s OLED panels, and in addition to Apple the South Korean company itself uses what’s made available. LG recently started production on OLED panels, but results have been mixed despite plenty of experience in the display-making business.
Although Apple is currently scooping up OLED panels from everyone else in the mobile industry, the company could transition over to micro-LED in a few years. The advantage there would be enhanced colors, brightness, and energy consumption. And by then maybe Apple would start producing displays on its own.