How Apple Might Cause Global OLED Shortage with iPhone 2018

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Apple may cause global OLED shortage if it releases all-OLED iPhone 2018

By now, consumers and fans alike while know that the iPhone 8 will be the first smartphone from Apple to have an OLED display. There have been debates early on about the possibility of other iPhones in 2017 to be released with the said display. However, since the iPhone 8 will be the crowning jewel of iPhone history, it needs to be unique. Hence the choice of display panel for the phone.

For anyone following the iPhone story as it progresses daily, talking about future smartphones from Apple may sound a bit too much. Nevertheless, Nikkei did not shy aways by saying Apple might released three iPhone models next year. All with OLED displays to boot.

A dream come true but at a cost

For most Apple fans, this is dream come true. For many years now, since Android’s big move to OLED displays, iPhone fans have been clamouring for an all-OLED iPhone lineup. Unfortunately, it is not all unicorns and rainbows in the mobile phone market. At some point, something has got to give.

Having an OLED display on the iPhone is perhaps on of the biggest in a long wish list for an Apple fan. The display, with its minor shortcomings, is the preferred display technology for mobile devices of late. Not only that is gives the best image quality, it also is battery friendly.

Since OLED do not require a separate backlight like the LCD, power consumption is kept to a minimum even with continuous uses. Also, OLED panels tend to provide more vibrant colors than its counterpart due to the nature of its construction.

Apple may cause global OLED shortage if it releases all-OLED iPhone 2018

iPhone 8 is the only iPhone this year to have OLED panel (via macrumors.com)

Although these gains can convince anyone to switch to OLED, the display technology is not entirely flawless. For one, OLED panels have a shorter life span compared to other technologies like LCD. Secondly, the manufacturing of OLED panels is quite complicated and expensive; thereby leading us to our next point.

Global OLED shortage eminent

There are only a few companies who specialize in OLED display manufacturing. At the moment, Samsung hold the majority of market shares when it comes to the display technology.

The machines needed to manufacture OLED panels are very expensive and rare. In fact, there is only one company in Japan who manufactures machines for the said application, Canon Tokki. Right now, the company is already facing a huge backlog of orders from the likes of LG and Samsung for the OLED manufacturing machines.

As mentioned, Samsung holds the majority share of OLED display supply globally. LG is now in the process of setting up its very own OLED manufacturing plant. Unfortunately, the said plant will only start operation in the early months of 2019. This brings us to the major conundrum at hand, Apple’s plans on releasing three OLED iPhone in 2018.

Market may not be ready for an all-OLED iPhone lineup

The report from Nikkei said that a source close to Apple claims the company is considering switching to OLED displays starting in 2018. However, the report also said that this rumor is still tentative and Apple might turn around in the end and change its plans.

Apple may cause global OLED shortage if it releases all-OLED iPhone 2018

Flexible OLED panel by LG Display (via lgdisplay.com)

Nevertheless, this brings in a big dilemma for the mobile phone market; component supply shortage. If Apple decided to go ahead and use only OLEDs for the 2018 iPhones, other phone manufacturers will have huge difficulties in sourcing their components.

This will result in more expensive components that will then get reflected on the final price of the product itself. Before long, consumers could be looking at ridiculously overpriced iPhones sometime next year.

On the other hand, since Samsung basically controls the global supply of OLED displays, it might favor its own products first rather than Apple’s 2018 iPhones. If this happens, Apple might be forced to scrap the all OLED iPhone idea and wait for 2019 to commence the plans.

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Also read: Images of Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Front Glass and Rear Cameras Leaked

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