Update: Raymond Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation, tells me that ET News got either its facts or translation wrong: “That statement (or possibly its translation from Korean) is wrong. What they mean is 60,000 OLED “substrates” per month, which should yield about 7.5 million 5 inch “panels” per month (but the production yield is well under 100 percent). My guess is that would result somewhere around 75 million 5 inch panels per year, or about a third of what Apple would need if it switched over entirely to OLED.”

With conflicting reports about whether Apple will be switching to OLED screens in 2017, 2018 or 2019, a sketchy report from ET News cites production volumes as evidence that Samsung is being positioned as Apple’s lead supplier. The same source first suggested this back in January.

As Samsung Display was chosen as the Apple’s primary partner, competition to become the secondary supplier is becoming more fierce […] 

Industries are estimating that Samsung Display will supply at least 50% and up to 70 to 80% of OLED panels for early iPhones.

The report cites ‘market estimates’ that Samsung will have the production capability to produce 60,000 displays per month later this year, but these numbers are obviously small in terms of iPhone volumes. LG and Japan Display are also in the running, and the battle for the business is likely to intensify if Foxconn successfully completes its takeover of Sharp, which it is buying primarily for its expertise in display manufacturing.

Rumors of Apple switching from LCD to OLED have been around literally for years, but the switch does now appear to be a question of when rather than if. Talking about the OLED display of the Apple Watch, Jony Ive described the type of LCD screens currently used in iPhones as ‘old.’

Apple has in the past dismissed OLED screens as lacking in brightness and color accuracy, but as technology has moved on, the more pressing obstacles have been higher production costs and shorter lifespans – issues which the company now appears happy to live with.

Image: iPhone concept

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