Apple display supplier Sharp will begin shipping OLED display panels, says Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn, which recently acquired the manufacturer (via Nikkei). Since rumour has it Apple may use OLED displays for next year’s iPhone, this seems to underpin that whisper, although Gou didn’t specifically mention whether its biggest client will use Sharp’s panels in 2017.
We will be ready before 2018 and ship (OLED panels) to customers,” Gou told reporters after the annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday.
Gou made it clear from the start that it would invest in new display technologies, as it plans to improve Foxconn’s performance and margins at a time when global demand for smartphones is dropping slightly.
He didn’t elaborate on whether or not the OLED panels would be ready for smartphones, but it makes sense to invest in this display technology if its biggest client, Apple – which accounts for about half of its revenue – is planning to make the switch next year.
Sharp currently provides LTPS panels to the iPhone maker, but it doesn’t yet have an OLED technology. The new technology will be the result of Foxconn’s 200 billion yuan investment in the display manufacturer.
OLED panels have various advantages over the LCD panels Apple is currently using for the iPhone. They offer sharper colour contrast and can also be flexible as Samsung has already shown with the S6 and S7 edge handsets.