iPhone 8 display will be an OLED one, Sharp CEO lets slip

We've heard about Apple including OLED display panels in its next iPhone, but this is the first time we've heard an official confirmation on it.

Sharp CEO Tai Jeng-wu recently confirmed that Foxconn will be manufacturing OLED displays for the iPhone 8 which will launch next year.

With Jeng-wu's revelation, it is now clear that Foxconn will at least play a part in OLED display production for the iPhone 8. In the last one year, we've seen a two-horse race with both Samsung and LG competing to win the prized-OLED production contract from Apple and who have reportedly expanded their production capabilities in the meantime. In April, the Wall Street Journal's Chinese website reported that Samsung had bagged a deal to manufacture 100 million OLED displays for an iPhone to be launched next year. According to 9to5Mac, the deal is worth close to $2.59 billion which means Samsung will earn close to quarter of a billion dollars each year from the deal.

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With Jeng-wu confirming that Foxconn will be manufacturing OLED displays for iPhone 8, it is possible that Apple may have decided to hand over the contract to its seasoned supplier instead of Samsung or LG, instead of asking them to share the manufacturing load. Jeng-wu also said that they are building a new OLED manufacturing facility in Japan and may build one in the United States too if Apple asks them to.

"The iPhone has been evolving and now it is switching from LTPS [low-temperature poly-silicon] to OLED panels. 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," he said. "We are now building a new [OLED] facility in Japan. We can make [OLED panels] in the US too. If our key customer demands [that we] manufacture in the US, is it possible for us not to do so?"

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An OLED display has some really amazing advantages over traditional ones like brighter vivid colours and rich and deeper blacks. The drawbacks are that this type of display dims over time and deteriorates. The first time OLED was used in a phone's display was back in 2010 when Samsung used it on its superstar Galaxy range of phones. Its phones have since grown in stature with the display being proclaimed as the best in the industry. Interestingly, Apple has its own development lab in Taiwan which conducts research on smartphone display that will be thinner yet brighter and sharper than the existing ones. The discreet lab houses a number of engineers who previously worked for firms like AU Optronics and Qualcomm.

Aside from OLED display panels, a recent report also suggests that Foxconn will be developing glass casing for future iPhones. "Apple is expected to redesign the iPhone, including giving it a glass chassis, in 2017 to boost weakening demand and to see off stiff competition from rivals, including South Korea's Samsung Electronics and China's Huawei Technology, whose phones use Android platforms," said Nikkei. "Market watchers suggested that Apple's new iPhones would adopt glass casings with metal frames and advanced organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels, a design Samsung already uses for its premium handsets. This will give iPhones developed in 2017 a sleeker look and a brighter, more energy-efficient display," the report added.

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