Apple iPhone display supplier sees OLED smartphone deluge from 2021

Pavel Alpeyev and Yuki Furukawa for Bloomberg:

Japan Display Inc., the struggling supplier of mobile screens to Apple Inc., says it has about a year before it needs to decide on whether to take a plunge on next-generation organic light-emitting diode displays… JDI’s liquid crystal displays will retain a price advantage that keeps them competitive in smartphones through 2021, the company’s new Chief Executive Officer Minoru Kikuoka said in an interview. He anticipates a more decisive shift to the new technology may occur in that time period, declining to elaborate on plans of specific customers.

Apple’s 2019 phone lineup includes one LCD model — the iPhone 11, which Apple launched at a starting price $50 lower than its predecessor — and the company plans to add a second one in the first half of next year to replace the aging iPhone 8. But the Cupertino, California-based company may still shift entirely to OLED for new phones as early as 2020. Though it will still sell a number of older LCD models, the time for Japan Display is running out.

After repeatedly pushing back mass production of its own OLED screens, JDI is finally close to having its first OLED product, Kikuoka said, declining to give further details other than to say that it won’t be a smartphone screen. A person familiar with the matter confirmed an earlier report that JDI’s first OLED will be used in the Apple Watch.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, for the sake of competition among Apple suppliers, not to mention hurting serial copier Samsung, JDI is once again hungry and ready to innovate!

7 Comments

  1. It’s a bit more complex than the blurb here shows. Apple has invested in JD, and they recently increased that investment when a Chinese investor pulled out. It would make no sense for Apple to put an estimated $250-300 million into a supplied to help keep it alive if it didn’t intend to keep using its products for at least several more years.

    Apple needs to have the advantage of JD’s products, and pricing, for that investment to pay off. JD has said that it would t invest in OLED production. Whether that’s still true or not, we don’t know. But Apple knows something.

    1. Danox, your posts were just an expression of wishful thinking. You provided no rationale for how this was supposed to happen – you just want it to happen.

      melgross provides useful background on how the JDI situation developed in recent years with substantial investments by Apple and others. Rest assured that Apple is keeping close tabs on those investments and JDI’s prospects in the OLED market going forward.

      While Apple likes to own/control the core technologies in all of its products, it is practical about how it pursues that objective. For example, Apple designs its own processors, but it contracts chip fabrication to TSMC and others. TSMC provides high volume chip production and maintains cutting edge processes and equipment at its factories and Apple avoids the massive investment and distractions of building and maintaining those chip fabrication facilities. My impression is that Apple considers display production to be somewhat similar. Apple contracts for displays meeting its high specifications and also performs extensive calibration to deliver the highest quality displays in its products. But it does not manufacture those displays.

      This is in keeping with many other industries that source components and fabrication/assembly support from different companies. It is not wise to attempt to stovepipe everything within one company.

  2. Japan Display Inc is dead center in first world (JAPAN), there isn’t any excuses for Apple other than the lack of will. JD like IBM fading away every quarter.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.