In a research note, reliable supply chain analyst KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo is suggesting that Apple is unlikely to bring AMOLED screens to the iPhone for many years to come, through 2018 at least, and almost certainly not coming to the iPhone 7.
OLED iPhones have been a long-running rumor but Apple has remained steadfast with investments in better LCD panels for the most part. Yield for OLED panels continues to be a big issue given the incredible scale Apple requires for iPhone shipments.
Apple started using AMOLED in its product line this year with the Apple Watch, which takes full advantage of the deep blacks OLED screens can create in its user interface, blurring the line between bezel and screen wherever possible. In an interview earlier this year, Jony Ive called the iPhone screen (which cannot reproduce such an effect as LCD contrast levels are not as good) as ‘old’.
Regardless, The KGI note says that Foxconn is investing in a new $4bn LTPS TFT-LCD plant for iPhone screens, a further indication that Apple is not looking to change screen technology anytime soon. The plant is scheduled for mass production in 2018. Although Apple could change course over three years, the current outlook is definitely against AMOLED. Certainly, don’t bet on the iPhone 7 featuring an AMOLED display.