The shares of some iPhone display suppliers fell in Asia after South Korea’s Electronic Times reported that Apple Inc. has decided to use next-generation screens for all of its new models next year, even though several analysts said such a transition wasn’t likely.
Japan Display Inc. shares fell as much as 21 percent, the biggest intraday drop since its 2014 market debut. Sharp Corp. declined as much as 4.3 percent. If true, Apple’s move would be negative for both manufacturers, which have so far been unable to mass produce OLEDs and currently supply LCD screens. Representatives for Apple, JDI and Sharp declined to comment.
A shift to using only organic light-emitting diode screens for iPhones would be challenging, given the sheer volume that Apple sells: 216 million devices in 2017. Samsung Display Co., part of Samsung Electronics Co., is the sole supplier of OLED screens for high-end Apple phones, but the manufacturer also uses them for its own smartphones, limiting supplies. While Apple has embraced OLED, most analysts said they don’t see the switch happening in 2019.
“It is unlikely that Apple will be releasing three OLED models next year,” said Jeff Pu, an analyst at Taipei-based Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting. The other major OLED supplier, LG Display Co., has struggled to move into mass production and isn’t likely to boost OLED production for Apple in 2019 from 5 million to 10 million units expected this year, he said.
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