At some point, Apple Inc. is expected to shift to organic light-emitting diode displays for the iPhone, the kind it already uses for Apple Watch. That would allow Apple to ditch backlighting for the iPhone, since pixels in an OLED screen can be individually lit.
But a change like that would have a big impact on Apple's current display supply chain -- and at least one supplier doesn't want to be left out. Japan Display is in talks with Apple to secure organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display orders for a 2018 handset, an “iPhone 8,” perhaps, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkan.
To prepare for a shift to a OLED-based displays, the Japanese manufacturer plans to retool one of its factories into a prototype assembly line by Spring 2016. This could put Japan Display in a much better position against a number of existing OLED display suppliers vying for Apple’s business.
The iPhone maker was also looking at Samsung as a potential display supplier for its future smartphone, according to South Korean ET News. That said, Apple already has an investment of an unspecified amount in a $1.4 billion Japan Display plant aimed at manufacturing LCD displays for the iPhone, according to Reuters.
Were Apple to uses the display technology in its iPhone 8, it could be its second device to contain an OLED screen -- the first being the Apple Watch launched in April. LG was reportedly the sole supplier for the smartwatch’s screen. But Samsung may also get a piece of the pie with the anticipated “Apple Watch 2.” LG is also making big investments in the OLED manufacturing business. In November, it announced its plans to spend 1.84 trillion South Korean Won (about $1.5 billion) in a plant dedicated to building OLED screens, according to the Verge.
While the iPhone 8 could come with OLED display, fans won’t know for sure for at least a couple of years. In the meantime, market analysts are keeping a close eye on its current smartphone -- the iPhone 6S -- and how it fares during the all-important holiday quarter.