Reports indicate that Apple is interested in acquiring Japan Display’s liquid crystal displays for some of its iPhones. This is an indication that the technology is not completely obsolete despite the coming of a new display technology. The iPhone 8 series, which was launched last month, uses LCD screens but the iPhone X series uses OLED screens.
Last month Japan Display indicated that its advanced displays which are internally referred to as Full Active will comprise over 70% of panels business for smartphones as well as other smart gadgets in the next two years. In a regulatory filing Japan Display also indicated that around 54% of the revenues the company generated in the fiscal year that ended in March this year were obtained from Apple.
Chinese handset manufacturers
According to the head of the mobile unit at Japan Display, Kazutaka Nagaoka, the main customers of Full Active displays were Chinese handset manufacturers such as Xiaomi – which is using the panel in its Mi Mix 2 smartphone. Sources based at the suppliers that collaborate with Japan Display also claimed that Apple had shown interest in the Full Active displays and this is leading to optimism that there will be a rapid uptake for the new technology.
Plans for the future models of the iPhone are made years in advance by the Cupertino, California-based tech giant. Apple however only commits to designs in the third month of the year that a new iPhone is launched and this makes it difficult to predict what to expect from the iPhone maker. Features and components are also changed in the course of the manufacturing process.
There is expectation among analysts that Apple as well as other makers of smartphones will shift to newer OLED screens since these displays allow for the making of angled or curved screens. These displays also provide more contrast and therefore resulting in an enhanced user experience. For the moment though, supply and cost issues are likely to hamper adoption of the technology.
The argument being presented by Japan Display is that its Full Active LCD displays are capable of matching or exceeding the advantages of OLED and are also likely to be cheaper.