Samsung building

Samsung Major Supplier of Flexible OLED Displays for Apple?

January 14, 2016 - Written By Cory McNutt

The old saying is that the Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – with Samsung being the tree in this case – may never be truer as rumors abound that Apple and Samsung are about to sign a new agreement…one that would have Samsung becoming their main supplier of OLED flexible panels for its new iPhones.  This all started when other rumors concerning Apple making significant changes in its iPhone display area by switching from the current LTPS (Low-Temperature Poly-Silicone) LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) display to OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) on its iPhones beginning around 2018.  This makes perfect sense as Apple would certainly want their iPhones to compete in the world of flexible displays and that is simply not going to happen with continued use of LCD technology.  Apple cannot have Samsung and LG tempting away their customers with foldable displays or sleek looking curved edges.  The age of flexible displays, not to mention the astounding colors derived from an OLED display, are rapidly approaching and Apple must keep up to the innovation surrounding them.

Apple is not anything if not smart in choosing one of the leading OLED manufacturers that actually has the facilities and money to expand those facilities to meet Apple’s demands.  Rumors have been around for a while concerning this, but new reports out of Korea put Samsung in the center of this new deal that has already been signed.  Sources further report that Samsung is already preparing to invest $6.64 billion to $7.47 billion over the next couple of years to increase current plant capacity.  By the end of 2016, an investment of $2.49 to $3.32 billion in plant equipment should increase capacity to between 30,000 to 45,000 OLED displays per month.  This agreement also includes the possibility of adding additional facilities to produce another 45,000 OLED displays per month in 2017.  Of course, some of this increased production capacity will be to expand Samsung Display’s own Galaxy line as well as for Chinese manufacturers.

Samsung first had to secure deals with some of its technology suppliers, such as front-end processing equipment company AP System…that Samsung Display has recently become their second biggest shareholder.  It is the only business in the world that supplies LLO (Laser Lift-Off) equipment used to strip off glass substrates during the OLED process.  A deal with an inspection equipment business, HB Technologies was also inked, as well as others – all signs that the Samsung-Apple deal is going down.