Competition for next-gen iPhone OLED panel supply is about to get really interesting, as both Sharp and Japan Display could throw their hats in the Samsung-dominated ring after LG, which is reportedly very close to securing a high-profile deal with Apple.
At least two of three iPhone X 2018 sequels are widely expected to adopt trendy OLED screens, and although Samsung could probably handle the entire production by itself, Cupertino may no longer want to rely exclusively on its arch-rival.
Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi’s joint JDI venture, as well as the Foxconn-owned Sharp, still largely focus on LCD panel technology, nonetheless planning to expand and modernize their manufacturing facilities.
That’s probably going to take a while, which is why the two were previously believed to relish the opportunity of supplying thin-bezeled displays for yet another LCD iPhone variant this year. But now it’s possible at least one of the Japanese companies will help make OLED 2018 iPhones happen without any shortage fear. And both of them should have the resources to support or even replace Samsung in the supply chain as early as 2019, obviously alongside LG.
Further down the line, the “overall OLED panel production capacity” from Korea, Japan and China will “definitely far surpass that of actual demand”, according to unnamed “industry sources” quoted by Digitimes, leading to “oversupply of the panels.”
For the time being, Apple is likely looking forward to Sharp’s expected Q2 2018 start of OLED screen manufacturing, possibly followed by JDI before the end of the year. Then again, Sharp’s own premium bezel-shrinking phones should be sold with home-made OLED tech in tow.