iPhone Supplier Japan Display Seeks Financing Needed to Shift to OLED Displays

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iphone-family-late-2016iPhone display supplier Japan Display is in "advanced talks" with the government-backed fund Innovation Network Corp. of Japan to receive around ¥75 billion ($703 million) in financing, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The bailout deal could help Japan Display improve its LCD display technology to better compete against OLED displays, while the investment could also go towards trying to set up its own manufacturing lines for mass-producing OLED displays.

Apple is widely expected to launch at least one new iPhone with an OLED display next year, with rumors pointing towards a curved 5.5-inch-or-larger model with glass casing. Japan Display's domestic rival Sharp recently said it is building a new OLED facility in Japan to manufacture the displays for a "key customer," while Samsung and LG Display are reportedly in the mix as well.

OLED displays typically have sharper color contrast and brighter colors compared to LCD displays, while the technology allows for flexible, curved designs. OLED panels also typically have faster response times and better viewing angles compared to LCD technology, with the option for an always-on mode. Samsung smartphones have used AMOLED displays, based on OLED technology, for years.

Rumors suggest Apple will release at least two traditional 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone models with LCD displays next year, as it has used since the original iPhone in 2007, so Japan Display may still have time to ramp up its OLED efforts.

INCJ already owns a controlling 36% stake in Japan Display, a joint venture formed in 2012 by the display making divisions of Hitachi, Sony, and Toshiba. Japan Display has struggled as of late due to the rise of OLED, with its revenue in the July-September quarter declining 25%. The company posted a quarterly net loss of ¥4.9 billion, but it projects a small operating profit for the full fiscal year.

Sharp received a similar financial infusion when it was acquired by Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn for $3.5 billion earlier this year.

Top Rated Comments

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49 months ago

I hope this might mean that Japan Display is investing in mLED which IMHO is the future and better than OLED. And maybe the reason Apple has been waiting to transition.

Don't hold your breath waiting on this to happen... especially for iPhones. mLED is in it's infancy and industry experts think it will be anywhere from 2-10 years before mLED will be commercially viable for mass production. Lot's of companies are working on it, so that's a good thing. My guess is the first appearance of mLED in an Apple product will occur with the Apple Watch. Just like Apple using the Apple Watch to test the viability of OLED. Scaled manufacturing capability is going to be the key for the adoption of mLED on iPhones.

As for Japan Display, I don't think they can really afford to invest in mLED right now. They need their investments to pay off quickly... as in yesterday. They don't have a war chest to carry them for the long haul. They need OLED capacity and more efficienct LCD capacity so they can capitalize on it sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, they have to worry about tomorrow's tech tomorrow.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago
I hope this might mean that Japan Display is investing in mLED which IMHO is the future and better than OLED. And maybe the reason Apple has been waiting to transition.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago

Don't hold your breath waiting on this to happen... especially for iPhones. mLED is in it's infancy and industry experts think it will be anywhere from 2-10 years before mLED will be commercially viable for mass production. Lot's of companies are working on it, so that's a good thing. My guess is the first appearance of mLED in an Apple product will occur with the Apple Watch. Just like Apple using the Apple Watch to test the viability of OLED. Scaled manufacturing capability is going to be the key for the adoption of mLED on iPhones.

As for Japan Display, I don't think they can really afford to invest in mLED right now. They need their investments to pay off quickly... as in yesterday. They don't have a war chest to carry them for the long haul. They need OLED capacity and more efficienct LCD capacity so they can capitalize on it sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, they have to worry about tomorrow's tech tomorrow.

You may be right. Here ('https://9to5mac.com/2016/06/24/2017-apple-watch-reportedly-switching-to-micro-led-screen-technology-away-from-oled-panels/')is the article basically supporting what you state. Except that it may be quicker than your timeline.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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