Production machinery orders spiking ahead of iPhone’s switch to OLED screens

By , May 23, 2016

iPhone 7 Plus mockup Jermaine Smit 001

Many in the rumor-mill agree that Apple is planning to build an iPhone around the brighter, more power efficient AMOLED screen tech. New clues of 2017 bringing a major change to the iPhone’s display technology appeared with news this morning that the world’s top maker of display-making equipment, Applied Materials, reported an almost fourfold leap in orders for OLED production machinery.

Name the leader in mobile

Applied Materials CEO did no mention Apple by name, but his message that “We all know who is the leader in terms of mobile products” couldn’t be clearer.

If Applied Materials is seeing a huge spike in production machinery, that must mean that suppliers are currently in the process of retooling their manufacturing processes in anticipation of massive OLED orders from Apple. Mass-adoption of OLED and AMOLED panels has been hampered thus far by expensive production and ongoing yield issues.

Applied Materials management said new orders totaled $700 million in its second quarter versus just $180 million in the three-month period a year earlier.

Four suppliers tasked with building OLED screens for iPhones

“Emphasizing that the new displays will make their way into the iPhone in 2017, rather than in the new device expected to be introduced in September, Applied said it takes as long as three quarters to build, deliver and install their large machines,” said Bloomberg.

iPhone 7 Plus mockup Jermaine Smit 008

Apple is said to have tasked as many as four different suppliers with building OLED panels for future iPhones: Samsung Display, LG Display, Japan Display and Foxconn’s Sharp. More than ninety percent of AMOLED panels are being produced by Samsung, which uses SUPER AMOLED technology in its flagship devices.

OLED=clearer picture and longer-lasting battery

OLED and AMOLED panels are flexible and allow for more vivid colors, higher contrast and deeper blacks. Because they don’t need backlighting, these screens are thinner and lighter while consuming a fraction of the power of LCD IPS screens Apple’s been using on all iPhones to date. And given the display is the #1 power draw on a smartphone, an AMOLED iPhone should yield a noticeably longer battery life.

Some sources have advised against expecting an OLED iPhone next year, saying we might have to wait until 2018 or maybe even later for such a device.

iPhone will get OLED screen in 2017, not 2018

I’m not buying their logic because next year marks the iPhone’s tenth anniversary and the company would be foolish to pass the opportunity to build something truly special in marking the important iPhone milestone.

“Some tooling or machinery orders now set up suppliers for the fall of 2017,” said Gene Munster, a Minneapolis-based analyst at Piper Jaffray. “It sets up the iPhone in the fall of 2017 to be more of an impactful upgrade than the fall of this year.”

Source: Bloomberg

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  • Ara Rezaee

    Screen burn in issues here we come!

    • Rob

      Right? This is Apple cheaping out. AMOLED or OLED just became cheaper to produce than LCD so Apple is now making the switch. All well knowing the issues they bring…this decision is all about the bottom line. Might as well buy an android phone and save some money myself

      • 9to5Slavery

        What’s wrong with a business standpoint of switching until it aligns with their production plans? You do know that it takes a lot of orders to create iPhones right? Compared to android manufacturer. You can buy a non iPhone, no one is stopping you because of your simple minded thinking. No offense. And you do realize that Apple is a business, cheaping out to you, but other manufacturers would do what it takes to be successful like Apple as well [in many other similar factors].

    • Maybe that’s one of the reasons apple still didn’t go to OLED screens.

      • Ara Rezaee

        Come on its Apple, people like to find flaws, blow them out of proportion and then put them on Youtube

  • sun

    its funny to me that people think OLED is so much better. Sure it has advantages but I’ve also never seen a screen with burn in like I have with Galaxy S7’s for instance. Just looking at one at Best Buy and the demo screen is burned into the phones screen. Would like better blacks though 🙂