Korea’s ET News claims that Samsung will become Apple’s primary supplier of OLED display panels, stating that an agreement has “practically been decided.” Samsung is reportedly gearing-up for the contract with an initial investment of between $2.49B and $3.32B in plant and equipment, rising to $7.47B depending on order levels.

Apple currently uses OLED displays in the Watch. Rumors that it will switch to OLED for the iPhone have been doing the rounds for many years, but have been getting much more specific of late. The switch is said to be happening in 2018, with Apple recently reported to be ‘close to agreement‘ with suppliers. The most recent report named both Samsung and LG as likely suppliers …

KGI last year said that Apple would not be switching to OLED screens in the iPhone before 2018, key supplier Foxconn having recently invested $4B in a new LCD plant for iPhone screens. However, Jony Ive is clearly a fan of OLED, saying that LCD screens feel “very, very old.”

OLED displays are thinner, display more vivid colors and allow deeper blacks than LCD, and can also be more power-efficient – but only where the majority of the content displayed is black, as is the case for the Apple Watch. On the downside, manufacturing costs are higher, displays don’t last as long and they aren’t as bright as LCD displays. The benefits of OLED over LCD tie in neatly with display technologies Apple is said to be testing in a secret Taiwanese lab.

It should be noted that ET News is not always a reliable source of news, tending to talk-up Korean companies, but as both companies reportedly in the running here are Korean, this report may have greater credibility.

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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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