While speaking to students at Tatung University during a ceremony in which he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree, Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu confirmed that the next generation of iPhones will ship with advanced organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, Nikkei Asian Review is reporting. Mr. Tai, who was also an executive at Sharp’s parent company Foxconn, said that if Apple doesn’t adopt OLED technology for iPhones, “there will be no innovation”.
The remarks from the Sharp executive come at a time when Apple is believed to be completely revamping the design of its flagship product, the iPhone, in order to boost sales during the iPhone’s 10th anniversary next year. The Cupertino tech giant reported its first annual sales decline since 2001 in the year to September, due to weakening demand and lack of innovative features in this year’s iPhone 7.
“The iPhone has been evolving and now it is switching from LTPS (low-temperature poly-silicon) to OLED panels,” Tai told students at Tatung University, his alma mater. “We don’t know whether Apple’s OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn’t walk down this path and transform itself, there will be no innovation. It is a crisis but it is also an opportunity,” Tai said.
“We are now building a new [OLED] facility in Japan. We can make [OLED panels] in the U.S. too,” he said. “If our key customer demands us to manufacture in the U.S., is it possible for us not to do so?”
Although Mr. Tai did not specify when the iPhone will start sporting OLED screens, he did confirm that Sharp was committed to developing OLED technology. The company currently supplies LTPS panels for Apple, but has very limited OLED production capabilities.