Japan Display will reportedly supply OLED screens for the next generation Apple Watch expected to launch later this year.
According to a new report from Reuters, the move is seen as a “breakthrough” for the Japanese company, which had a rough time following Apple’s decision to drop LCD screens in favour of OLEDs for the iPhone. The sources said the supply deal would mark Japan Display’s first foray into the OLED display market.
“Japan Display Inc will begin to supply organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens for the Apple Watch later this year, two sources said, a breakthrough for the cash-strapped company whose late shift to OLED has cost it orders from Apple,” reads the report.
“The supply deal would mark Japan Display’s foray into the OLED display market, the two sources familiar with the matter said, declining to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media,” the report continues.
While the report doesn’t specify which Apple Watch models will get Japan Display screens this year, it’s likely that the deal concerns the next-gen models, the Apple Watch Series 5.
The Apple Watch Series 4 comes with an LTPO OLED Retina Display and it remains to be seen what kind of a display the Japanese company would make for Apple, in terms of upgrades and other changes. Apple’s smartwatches are the most popular wearable device out there and last year’s model features plenty of upgrades as well as a design change.
According to reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the Apple Watch Series 5 will feature a new ceramic casing design, suggesting a possible return of the Apple Watch Edition.
Japan Display already supplies Apple with LCD panels for the 2018 iPhone XR and it is expected to continue doing so for the 2019 model of the iPhone XR as well.
Apple has so far reportedly been sourcing OLED panels for the Apple Watch series from LG. For iPhones though, Apple has to stick to Samsung Display as other display makers like LG Display and BOE have simply been unable to scale up their OLED production facilities.