Apple Courts Chinese Display-Maker to Supply OLED Panels for ‘Future iPhones’

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While Apple is all but certain to release an iPhone boasting OLED display technology later on this fall, most reports have converged around the notion that Samsung Display Co. will be the sole supplier of panels destined for Cupertino’s 10th anniversary flagship. However, as far as the future is pertinent, Apple appears to be keeping its options open — and has been entertaining the possibility of bringing a little-known display-maker from mainland China aboard its growing list of component suppliers for future iPhones, according to a new report published this week by Bloomberg.

The report alleges that Apple has not only been in discussion, but has also been sampling the AMOLED display offerings from Sichuan Province-based BOE Technology Group Co. for several months now — although the Apple has not decided if it will ink a deal with the firm just yet. AMOLED, an acronym from Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode, is an advanced form of OLED display technology that has been popularized in recent years by devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Google Nexus 6P, for example — and, BOE, as one of the largest display-makers in mainland China, has apparently invested as much as 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) in an endeavor to build two new AMOLED manufacturing plants in the Southwestern-Chinese province, likely with the hopes that they will muster up some new business in light of them.

Of course, with Samsung confirmed to be Cupertino’s ‘go-to’ OLED supplier — at least for the next year, if not longer — it is unlikely that BOE will be able to cut itself a slice of that sweet Apple pie until 2018, when Apple could also be introducing even more devices featuring the advanced display tech. Bloomberg cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter who indicated that the Chinese firm, in developing those AMOLED plants, is hedging its bets on an outcome along those lines.

If Apple decides to ink a deal with BOE Technology Group to supply it with AMOLED displays, that deal would make of the firm the first of such suppliers who are headquartered in Mainland China — with Samsung of South Korea, and JDI from Japan, being the other two major display suppliers for Apple. However BOE, for its part, has thus far specialized in creating advanced displays for computers and Televisions, according to the report. And so the possibility of also creating AMOLED displays for iPhone, or even other smartphones, could eventually bring the firm up to par with industry leaders.

Asked for further comment on the report, Apple declined, unsurprisingly — while BOE said that it does not comment on “talks with customers.”

“It’s an opportunity for BOE as Apple is known to seek multiple suppliers for one component,” said James Yan, research director for Counterpoint Research in Beijing, China. “But it’s unlikely to challenge Samsung because it is able to roll out high-quality screens at a steady capacity.”

Though Apple’s transition to OLED display technology is rumored to be a costly move, there’s no argument that the advanced display tech will be well-received by Apple fanatics and newcomers, alike. OLED is an equally eye-popping and fascinating display technology, which will render gorgeous and true-to-life images on iPhone displays, just as they have for a while now on some high-end Android devices. And since Apple has decided to adopt the advanced tech, now that it’s matured to an acceptable extent, the company will likely be getting the best of what the world — err, Samsung, the largest display-maker in the world — has to offer, if or until an agreement is reached with BOE.

Are you looking forward to an OLED-equipped iPhone? To learn more about OLED and what it will bring to Apple’s iconic device, be sure to check out our previous coverage that’s ‘all about OLED’.

Featured Image: Handy Abovergleich
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