Taiwanese media reports claim (via Focus Taiwan) Apple is planning to inject funds into AU Optronics, with the aim of transforming the company into an “active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) screen supplier”.
While AU Optronics declined to comment on the reports, Focus Taiwan notes that the company has been focusing on AMOLED displays for more than a decade and has built up a rich patent portfolio. Just last year, AUO started supplying AMOLED display panels to Huawei, TCL, and others.
Apple currently uses LTPS panels supplied by Japan Display, Sharp, and LG Display for the iPhone, but an avalanche of rumours claim that the company will likely switch to AMOLED in 2018. One notable news report from last month mentioned that Apple had deployed a secret lab at a Taiwanese factory with the purpose of developing thinner and brighter displays for upcoming devices. The engineers are said to be focusing on OLED technologies.
AU Optronics has been part of the supply chain before but has fallen out of favour with Apple, according to Digitimes, after failing to fix the LCD panel production issue which affected the company’s output throughout the second half of 2012. Back then, AUO was responsible for supplying displays for the iPad mini, but after dropping the supplier, Apple switched to Samsung.