OLED Supplier Sees Fourfold Leap in Orders as Apple Gears Up for 2017 iPhone

As Apple gears up to introduce OLED displays in the 2017 iPhone, the impact is already being felt in the company's supply chain. During a recent earnings call, Applied Materials, a company that creates equipment for making displays, reported a fourfold increase in orders.

According to Bloomberg, the growing demand for new display manufacturing equipment from Applied Materials serves as evidence that display makers are retooling their processes to produce OLED displays for Apple's line of iPhones in 2017.

iphoneconceptimage
Edge-to-edge iPhone concept image via ConceptsiPhone

Applied Materials executives did not mention Apple by name during the earnings call, but CEO Gary Dickerson dropped some hints in a statement given to Bloomberg, pointing towards long term, sustainable growth and naming the "leader" of mobile products.
"It's not a peak or a one-time event," said Applied Materials Chief Executive Officer Gary Dickerson. "This is going to be sustainable growth. We all know who is the leader in terms of mobile products."
Applied Materials says it takes as long as three quarters to build, deliver, and install its machines, so a ramp up in purchases now means display suppliers are preparing to make some major changes in the coming months.

There are a wealth of rumors suggesting Apple will debut OLED displays in the 2017 iPhone. Apple has already inked a deal with Samsung to secure 5.8-inch OLED displays for future iPhones, and the company may also be preparing to purchase displays from suppliers like AU Optronics, LG Display, and Sharp. Apple is the largest customer for Sharp, LG Display, and Samsung, and all three companies have ramped up display spending in recent months, according to Bloomberg.

An OLED display would eliminate the need for the backlighting that's used in traditional LCDs, allowing Apple to cut down on the thickness and weight of the display used in the iPhone 7. OLED displays also offer better contrast ratio, truer colors, improved viewing angles, better power efficiency to maximize battery life, and a faster response time than an LCD for faster refresh rates.

While the 2017 iPhone is more than a year away, there have already been dozens of rumors about the device due to the significant changes Apple is planning to introduce. Some of the features rumored for the 2017 iPhone (perhaps called the "iPhone 8") include wireless charging, an edge-to-edge bezel-free display with an integrated Touch ID fingerprint sensor, a glass body, and more advanced biometric features.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8

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48 months ago
So basically the iPhone 7 is going to suck
Rating: 25 Votes
48 months ago
AMOLED speculation aside, who on earth thought that there'll be an iPhone screen which covers the ENTIRE front glass surface area, bar the front camera, prox/ALS and earpiece? Go back to design school... or maybe just enroll there, period, and possibly take up engineering and some form of human interaction study, you NEED it. Failing that, you'd be a good candidate for helping with Samsung's El Bizarro designs.

Wow, what a messy, unrealistic concept.
Rating: 9 Votes
48 months ago
Now if only Apple could get the phone thinner so it can serve as a cheese cutter.
Rating: 9 Votes
48 months ago
I think the iPhone 8 will come sooner than we think.
Rating: 8 Votes
48 months ago
Apple finally joins the OLED party.
Rating: 6 Votes
48 months ago
I bet they change their release cycle, real fast.

2016 is gonna be a bust. Expect June, or earlier, next year.
Rating: 5 Votes
48 months ago

The headlines keep saying "2017 iPhone" rather than "2017 iPhones" because only the bigger model gets all the goodies :mad::(


One need never pluralize Apple Product Names ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/04/29/phil-schiller-dont-pluralize-product-names/') kind sir.
Rating: 5 Votes
48 months ago

Ok, so comparing that to the latest Apple LCD tech ('http://www.displaymate.com/iPad_Pro9_ShootOut_1.htm'), the OLED has lower brightness, lower contrast when you have enough light in the room to see color, worse color accuracy and is less power efficient.


You do not need to come up with your own assessment. DisplayMate is a recognized authority on display quality. They stated unequivocally (for two years in a row) that Samsung AMOLED screens are the best for phones.

Also, you are repeating old anti-OLED falsehoods. In the very same review that I quoted, it says:

The Galaxy S7 matches or breaks new records in Smartphone display performance for:


* Highest Absolute Color Accuracy (1.5 JNCD),
* Highest Peak Brightness (855 nits),
* Highest Contrast Rating in Ambient Light (186),
* Highest Screen Resolution (2560x1440),
* Highest (infinite) Contrast Ratio,
* and Smallest Brightness Variation with Viewing Angle (28 percent).
Rating: 5 Votes
48 months ago

I bet they change their release cycle, real fast.

2016 is gonna be a bust. Expect June, or earlier, next year.


Well, a June 2017 release of a new iPhone design with a great new display would be perfect timing for Apple after Tim & Co walk down iPhone memory lane at the beginning of the presentation. Imagine the crowd watching clips of the various iPhone introductions including those by Steve, including the landmark first one in 2007. Then Tim says now it's time to introduce a new redesigned iPhone which Steve would be proud of...
Rating: 4 Votes
48 months ago

You do not need to come up with your own assessment. DisplayMate is a recognized authority on display quality. They stated unequivocally (for two years in a row) that Samsung AMOLED screens are the best for phones.

Also, you are repeating old anti-OLED falsehoods. In the very same review that I quoted, it says:

The Galaxy S7 matches or breaks new records in Smartphone display performance for:


* Highest Absolute Color Accuracy (1.5 JNCD),
* Highest Peak Brightness (855 nits),
* Highest Contrast Rating in Ambient Light (186),
* Highest Screen Resolution (2560x1440),
* Highest (infinite) Contrast Ratio,
* and Smallest Brightness Variation with Viewing Angle (28 percent).

I didn't make my own assessment, I linked to DisplayMates. I think you didn't click through to it... You also need to understand the tables, you can't just pick off numbers without thinking about what they imply.

The LCD performance, on the metrics you lay out:

* Color accuracy: 1.3 JNCD (better than 1.5 of OLED)
* Contrast in ambient light: 301 (better than 186 of OLED)
* Normalized power: 1.26W (better than 1.45 of OLED)
* Brightness 30° off axis: -45-55% (worse than -28% of OLED)

Brightness measurements are complex here. The S7 is not able to sustain the high peak brightness across the entire display, which is why they only light up 1% of the screen to test it. Notice that the S7 brightness falls precipitously when 100% of the display is lit. All white, max brightness, the LCD is brighter. 1% white, "auto brightness" the OLED is brighter.

You didn't look at the power numbers, but when scaled linearly: 6.3W * (11.1/45.1) * (511/414) = 1.26W. I think a linear scaling here is probably conservative-- I'd bet that the LCD backlight and power supply get more efficient at smaller sizes and reduced brightness and would actually come in below this 1.26W number.

The infinite contrast ratio is in a zero ambient light environment with the display at max brightness. While an interesting technical metric, it's not a useful one for an end user. First, most users keep their displays at less than full brightness in a dark room so there is less than the 0.5cd/m^2 bleed through. Second, if there is more than about 10cd/m^2 of ambient light, then the screen reflectance of the S7 becomes more than 0.5cd/m^2 and the Apple LCD contrast is superior from there on up. Accounting for the fact that the user will dim their screen in lower light (or their pupils will adjust to the brighter light leading to darkening of the blacks anyway), the cross over point is somewhere below 10cd/m^2 ambient light.

It's worth noting that below 10cd/m^2, the human eye doesn't detect color-- so if you can see color in the room you're in, the LCD has better contrast.

OLED does tend to outperform on viewing angle brightness, and this eats into the LCD brightness advantage off axis, but it's worse at color reproduction off axis (6.7 JNCD vs. 1.4 JNCD).

So, of the things that the article claims that OLED outperforms on, your reference confirms 1. That was my point-- the article states these things as facts when the evidence doesn't back it.
Rating: 4 Votes

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