According to Digitimes, Apple and Samsung will dominate OLED display supply this year whilst smaller phone vendors struggle to secure suppliers. The report says Apple will get about 75 million OLED panels from Samsung in 2017 for iPhone 8, which is about 15% of total annual OLED production output. Samsung Electronics will get about 56%; Apple’s share would be even higher if the iPhone 8 launched earlier in the year.
It’s also worth noting that Apple is only launching one iPhone this year with an OLED display, as the other two new 2017 iPhones will continue to use LCD displays like the iPhone 7.
Digitimes says that other high production OLED manufacturers will not ramp up until next year at the earliest, which means smaller phone vendors are struggling to source OLED panels as Samsung and Apple dominate the supply chain.
Whilst Chinese vendors Oppo and Vivo have guarantee purchase agreements to secure 13% and 10% of total OLED output, Huawei has been left in the cold. Huawei will only be able to use OLED panels on a small proportion of its smartphone units produced this year, as display supply is so limited.
In a separate report, Digitimes claims that other phone vendors in China are depending on LTPS TFT-LCD panels due to the dearth of OLED.
Apple is showing signs of a similar strategy. Whilst the company is launching three new iPhones this year, only one will use an OLED display according to rumors. Apple is expected to debut a new high-end iPhone design with a 5.8-inch OLED display, a bezel-less front, wireless charging, a purported 3D front camera, and more.
This is being dubbed ‘iPhone 8’ thanks to its dramatic improvement in design and feature set, although final branding is not known. Apple is also expected to launch two modest updates to the current 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus with the same chassis, same display, and a focus on internal component upgrades.
Apple apparently wants to use OLED on its entire iPhone range by 2019.