Apple: OLED company spotlight

OLED is a new display technology, used to create thin, power efficient and bright displays. Today OLEDs are used in mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras and even TV sets - as OLEDs are considered the best display technology ever.

Apple's OLED devices

Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone X was the company's first OLED Phone - with a 5.8" 1125x2436 (458 PPI) flexible Super AMOLED display. Since then Apple has been adding more OLED iPhones, and starting in 2021, the company's entire smartphone lineup adopts AMOLED displays.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini photo

In April 2015 Apple launched its first wearable device, the Apple Watch which used a flexible AMOLED display (made by LG Display). All Apple Watch products to date continue to use flexible AMOLED displays. OLED displays are especially suitable for wearable devices - as the displays are thinner and lighter than LCD displays, and are more power efficient (especially if you tweak the UI to suit the special OLED properties).

In 2024 Apple launched its first OLED tablets, the 2024 iPad Pro devices, There are two devices, a 11" model (1668x2420) and a 13" model (2064x2752). Both OLEDs offer 120Hz and 1600 nits peak brightness - and a tandem architecture. Apple brands these displays as Ultra Retina Tandem OLEDs.

Apple also has other OLED devices. The Vision Pro VR headset uses 1.4" 4K OLED microdisplays (produced by Sony). In 2016, the company released its MacBook Pro range of high-end laptops that had an OLED Touch Bar instead of the traditional function keys. The company's latest laptops, though, no longer uses this OLED panel.

Apple Vision Pro

ETNews: Samsung Display to supply its latest M14 AMOLED panels to Apple and Google

ETNews reports that Samsung Display has developed a new OLED stack, the M14 stack, that it will sell to both Apple and Google to be used in their latest smartphones. The new stack improve the efficiency, lifetime and brightness of the display compared to SDC's previous generation stack. 

According to ETNews, the new M14 stack will be used int he upcoming iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max. Apple's regular iPhone 16 models will use the previous AMOLED stack, Samsung's M12. Google will also adopt the M14 stack in its Pixel 9 (all 3 model types) and the upcoming Pixel Fold 2.

Read the full story Posted: Jul 03,2024

Apple reportedly reaches out to Samsung and LG regarding the supply of OLED microdisplays

According to a report from Korea, Apple has sent an RFI for both Samsung Display and LG Display, seeking more information about the two companies capabilities regarding the production of OLED microdisplays. It is speculated that Apple is seeking to change its OLED supplier in a future, lower-cost VR headset.

Apple Vision Pro

Apple specifically mentions a white OLED with color filters architectures (i.e. not a direct-patterned device), a panel size of 2 to 2.1 inch and a display density of around 1,700 PPI (which is rather low, Sony's 4K microdisplays used in the Apple Vision Pro for example offer a density of almost 3,400 PPI).

Read the full story Posted: Jun 29,2024

DSCC sees OLED market revenues growing 12% in 2024 helped by Apple's first OLED tablets

DSCC says OLED revenues are expected to grow 12% in 2024 and reach $44 billion. OLED panel shipments will grow 18% in 2024. The fastest growing OLED market segments are tablets and monitors.

OLED tablet panel shipments will increase 202% in 2024, and this will result in a 632% increase in revenues, driven mostly by Appe's first adoption of OLED panels in its 13" and 11.1" iPad Pro tablets. OLED monitors will grow slower, but still impressively - 80% in shipments, and 45% in revenues.

Read the full story Posted: Jun 28,2024

LG Display gets approved to supply AMOLEDs for the iPhone 16 Pro Max before Samsung Display

Reports from Korea suggest that Apple approved LG Display as a supplier for its upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max, the most advanced iPhone model to be released this year. Interestingly, LGD apparently got the approval before Samsung Display, Apple's main OLED supplier.

If true, this is the first time that Apple approves LGD first. This does not necessarily mean anything, but it does mean that the technology gap between Samsung and LGD is low, if present at all. Samsung has much higher production capacity compared to LGD, note. The two companies will likely produce panels for all four iPhone 16 models, and it is reported that BOE will supply some panels for the two standard iPhone 16 models.

Read the full story Posted: Jun 12,2024

Some Apple iPad Pro customers complain of noticeable grain in the new OLED tablets

Earlier this month Apple announced its 2024 iPad Pro devices, Apple's first tablets with AMOLED displays, using tandem panels produced by LG Display and Samsung Displays. Some customers have complained about an annoying grain pattern in the new display:

This is especially noticeable in dark environments. It seems as if the 11" model is more affected by the 13" one. The 11" panel is produced exclusively by Samsung Display, while the 13" is made by both Samsung and LG Display. It could be that this is a problem only at Samsung's panels. 

Read the full story Posted: May 26,2024

Apple announces its 2024 iPad Pro devices, with tandem AMOLED displays

Yesterday Apple officially announced its 2024 iPad Pro devices, Apple's first tablets with AMOLED displays. There are two devices, a 11" model (1668x2420) and a 13" model (2064x2752). Both OLEDs offer 120Hz and 1600 nits peak brightness - and a tandem architecture. Apple brands these displays as Ultra Retina Tandem OLEDs.

Apple iPad Pro 2024 photo

The new iPad Pro 2024 devices will ship next week, starting at $999 for the 11" model. Some of the models offer a matte finish (nano-texture glass coating).

Read the full story Posted: May 08,2024

Samsung Display established a dedicated research team to develop OLED products for Apple

According to reports from China, Samsung Display established a new R&D team dedicated to develop OLED products for Apple. The so-called "A Team" is part of the Giheung Research Institute in Yongin, Korea.

This is an interesting move by SDC. Apple is an extremely important customer for Samsung Display, of course, and up until recently SDC has been the leading supplier of OLED displays for Apple - winning the majority of orders for iPhone AMOLEDs. But now that Apple is starting to adopt OLEDs in IT products (starting with tablets) things are changing.

Read the full story Posted: May 06,2024

Demand for Apple's Vision Pro is lower than expected, cuts its 2024 production plans by 50%

In February 2024, Apple started to ship its VR headset, the Apple Vision Pro, with its two Sony 1.3" 4K OLED microdisplays. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, a respected Apple analyst, the market reaction to Apple's HMD was much lower than expected, and Apple decided to slash its production plan from 800,000 units in 2024 to about 400,000. 

Apple Vision Pro

The Vision Pro has been shipping in the US only, but it seems the company prefers to cut production rather than start to ship the headsets globally - a sign that it does not expect demand to be higher outside of the US. According to Kuo, Apple is likely to cancel its plan to release a new version in 2025.

Read the full story Posted: May 02,2024

Apple develops a higher-efficiency LTPO backplane by adopting IGZO in the driving TFT

Apple was the first company to develop LTPO backplanes and it adopted this innovative and energy-efficient backplane technology back in 2018 in the Watch Series 4. LTPO combines Oxide-TFT and LTPS, by using the IGZO in some of the switching TFTs and LTPS in the remaining switching TFTs and all the driving TFTs. LTPO can reduce the power consumption by 5-15%, and enables variable refresh rate.

Apple Watch Series 4 photo

According to reports from Korea, Apple developed its 2nd-Gen LTPO backplane technology, that uses the IGZO in all the driving TFTs, and uses LTPS only in the remaining switching TFTs. This leads to higher efficiency compared to the first-generation LTPO backplane.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 10,2024

UBI: OLED tablet shipments to grow 7X in 2024, and continue to more than double by 2028

According to UBI Research, the OLED tablet panel market is set to grow quickly, more than doubling between 2024 (12 million units expected) to 2028 (28.4 million). That's a CAGR of 24.1%.

UBI says that the market in 2023 was only 1.8 million panels - so growth in 2024 will be dramatic (almost 7X), mostly thanks to Apple's adoption of OLEDs in some of its iPad modules (expected to be announced next month). Samsung will produce 11" panels for Apple, while LGD will produce larger 12.9" panels. 

Read the full story Posted: Apr 04,2024