Apple's screen solutions threaten suppliers' security
- In a move reflecting consumers' sensitivity to prices, Apple is reportedly delaying full adaptation of higher-tech, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens in favor of keeping cheaper LCD screens on many of its iPhones next year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- The company is expected to roll out one LCD iPhone model and two OLED models this fall, and reportedly believes LCD models will constitute most of its iPhone sales, according to the Wall Street Journal. It also is expected to keep using LCD screens next year, contradicting reports that it would fully transition to OLED by then.
- The news comes after Apple announced in March that it was testing its own in-house MicroLED screens.
Apple's decision to stick with cheaper LCD screens creates further uncertainty for its screen suppliers, many of whom have already suffered a hit from the tech giant's efforts to manufacture its own screens.
Shares for Sharp, LG Display and Japan Display — three of Apple's LCD suppliers — tumbled significantly over the past year with the expectation that Apple would ditch those products for OLED screens.
Then, when news broke in March that Apple has been testing its own MicroLED screens — a step up from OLED — shares fell again for many of its display providers, including Samsung, Sharp and LG Display. The move also hurt Universal Display and Synaptics.
Shares for Universal Display, which provides materials for OLED displays, fell after the Journal's report that Apple would be using more LCD screens than expected, according to Market Watch.
But Apple's decision to delay implementation of OLED screens doesn't necessarily spell good fortune for LCD suppliers, either, the Wall Street Journal noted. LG Display, for example, had already made plans to invest in OLED screens.
Apple has suffered supply shortages in the past and may face them again if suppliers have to change their production plans. Japan Display raised $320 million in April to meet expected higher demand for an advanced LCD display it's developed, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to recent reports, Apple has communicated changes to its vendors, including its plan to order 20% fewer parts this year from suppliers. But the intensifying uncertainty in Apple's supply chain could make the new iPhone rollout bumpier and costlier than usual, for Apple and its suppliers.
- The Wall Street Journal Apple to Stick With Cheaper Screens as Consumers Balk at iPhone X Price Tag