Last month, Apple supplier Japan Display reportedly asked local banks and its own shareholders for around $897 million to fund part of an "extensive" restructuring effort of its business, which would see the supplier's manufacturing output shift from LCD to OLED panels. Now, the company is said to be seeking an outside partner to help pay part of the funds (via Nikkei).

Japan Display is facing a troubled time due to its speciality of making LCD displays in an era when companies are slowly shifting to OLED-only smartphones, including its main customer Apple, so the restructuring money will go towards installing OLED panel lines at some of its plants.

iphone 8 embrace the notch


Japan Display is looking at investors both locally and abroad, who could both "shore up its shaky financial base" as well as help out with running manufacturing operations in the shift from LCD to OLED production. Its decision on an outside partner is said to be planned for "as soon as next year."

Smartphone makers including Apple, its largest customer, are increasingly turning away from LCDs and toward state-of-the-art organic light-emitting diode displays, where the Japanese company lags far behind South Korean rivals.

JDI, as the company is also known, has drawn up plans for extensive revamping in response, and is on the hunt for investors at home or abroad that can help shore up its shaky financial base and lend a hand in running operations.

Japan Display will begin with a cut back on LCD production as well as laying off "more than 3,500 workers" at parts assembly plants in China and the Philippines. In Japan, the company will initiate an "early retirement program" for 250 volunteers. LCD-focused plants, including a central location in Japan, will completely halt production and be repurposed for OLED panels, while the remaining workers will be transferred to other factories.

The cost of Japan Display's restructuring plans is estimated at around $1.35 billion, with many market watchers expecting the supplier to end its next fiscal year with another monetary loss, "marking the company's fourth straight year in the red." For its bank loans, three local banks have agreed to extend Japan Display new lines of credit worth about $997 million.

Other Apple suppliers have already begun making OLED panels, including the current leader in the field, Samsung Display, and up-and-comer LG Display. Apple itself is said to be investing in LG Display's OLED production, with the hopes that it can lessen its reliance on Samsung as it shifts to OLED-only iPhones in 2018 or 2019.

For Japan Display, the company's planned shift to OLED began with a report from December 2015, where it cited a plan to begin mass producing OLED panels for iPhones by spring 2018. Then, in November 2016, the supplier sought a government-backed fund to improve its LCD technology and introduce OLED lines at its plants.

Top Rated Comments

EightyTwenty Avatar
90 months ago
OLED is the future, but God that iPhone 8 concept is fugly.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
90 months ago
So the main advantage and why we see Apple investing in this is for brighter displays at lower power? Though as far as I understand, with OLED, when it's black, the pixel is actually turned off, so there's no blacker anymore, how does this translate to mLED?
OLED and mLED are both LED, so they have the same display characteristics and advantages over LCD. Fully off is black. Wide display angles. Etc.

The main difference is:

- OLED is made from organic materials like polymers that are carbon and hydrogen based. Commonly used in high resolution flat displays from watches to smartphones to TVs.

- mLED is made using inorganic materials like compounds of gallium, silicon, nitrogen. Large inorganic LEDs are used all around us as common red or green power indicators, and in white or yellow for bulb replacements. Note these are mostly fairly large single dot applications. (Older calculators used tiny red gallium arsenide LED dot matrix displays for numbers.)

..............

To actually qualify as "microLED", each inorganic LED is supposed to be 100 microns in diameter or less. If it were possible to jam them side by side, that's roughly 250 PPI. In real life, commercial mLEDs are still around 150 microns and used at more like 5-25 PPI.

While one-off experimental mLED displays have been made at 1000 PPI and higher, they're also fingernail sized and single color.

Currently the search is on for a breakthrough method of making mLED panels on a scale and resolution that would make them competitive with OLED at even a watch sized display. But so far they've been commercially viable only for wall sized displays made up of relatively large pixel blocks at a very low PPI.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
90 months ago
Hmm, anyone can enlighten me why mLED will be better than OLED? I thought mLED is a similar but not quite in terms of feature and is a cheaper version of OLED?
OLED =organic LED
Micro LED = marketing term for inorganic LED

A few years back, mLED offered higher brightness at lower power. It still can, but OLED is constantly improving, and the difference for the extra cost might never be worth it.

This is a good link, IMO. Think in terms of photography. With the display being 'Sharper' along with the color and efficiencies that come with OLED. :apple:

http://www.ledinside.com/intelligence/2016/10/ledinside_advantages_of_micro_led_in_fine_pitch_display_applications
That article, like most others people quote, is about using MicroLEDs in billboard sized displays.

The article is excited about a 4mm dot pitch. That's about 6 PPI. Six. IIRC, even the highest density mLED TV made so far was only about 40 PPI.

Compare that to the 300 PPI in a typical "retina" display. Or the Samsung Galaxy 8 with 571 PPI in its OLED screen.

"Micro" is a very misleading adjective at this point in its mass manufacturing stage.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Wednesday June 19, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
Apple Intelligence General Feature

Apple Intelligence Features Not Coming to European Union at Launch Due to DMA

Friday June 21, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act. In a statement to Financial Times, Apple said that there will be a delay as it works to figure out how to make the new...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....