Analysts question whether Apple can adopt all-OLED iPhone lineup by 2019

Yesterday’s supply chain report that Apple would be moving to an all-OLED iPhone lineup next year was taken sufficiently seriously that it caused significant share price movements.

However, some analysts are today questioning whether it would be possible for Apple to complete the shift quite so quickly …

Samsung, Japan Display, Sharp and Universal Display all saw their share price affected by the report. However, Bloomberg reports that analysts from three firms are skeptical, citing three reasons to doubt the report.

First, said JP Morgan analyst Jay Kwon, a cheaper LCD model is a key part of Apple’s strategy this year, and that is unlikely to change by next year.

Second, Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting analyst Jeff Pu suggested that Apple would struggle to obtain enough OLED panels to meet demand across three models.

Using only organic light-emitting diode screens for iPhones would also be challenging, given the sheer volume that Apple sells: 216 million devices in 2017. Samsung Display Co., part of Samsung Electronics Co., is the sole supplier of OLED screens for high-end Apple phones, but the manufacturer also uses them for its own smartphones, limiting supplies. Other OLED screen makers, like LG Display Co., haven’t shown the ability to churn out Samsung-like capacities.

Finally, Goldman Sachs analysts believe that recent financial guidance from a number of suppliers – notably including Japan Display – points to Apple’s continued use of LCD through 2019. Daiki Takayama and Jie Dai suggest that ‘share prices have overreacted.’

Neither Apple nor any of its suppliers are commenting, of course, with IHS Markit analyst Jerry Kang saying that the move itself is inevitable, but the timing is uncertain.

Ultimately, the plan is for Apple to go full OLED on its iPhones as far as I know but whether that’s going to happen at this point is a question mark.

Regardless of the OLED timing, Apple is already looking further ahead, planning for a later shift to microLED screens.

2018 iPhone mockups: idropnews

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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