24 January 2022
Apple is long rumored to be working on OLED iPad plans but things have not exactly worked out as expected. Samsung Display is one of the display supply options that the Cupertino tech giant is looking at. The two parties were reportedly close to striking a deal last year which would have led to the product launch in 2023 but ended up parting ways.
It was speculated that Apple decided to discontinue 10.86-inch OLED iPad Air launch plans due to issues related to display brightness, durability, and manufacturing cost. A new report from The Elec claims that Apple and Samsung are now talking again but it is the financial viability that will decide whether a deal will be agreed upon.
It is reported that Apple will have to place large enough orders that it becomes financially feasible for Samsung to produce OLED panels. In the first attempt, Samsung wanted to go for a single-stack OLED panel but Apple wanted a two-stack tandem structure to achieve the desired brightness level and durability. This is something that is expensive to produce and was the reason for the first attempt collapse.
Samsung is now said to be looking to acquire a new vertical deposition machine to work on its Gen 8.5 IT OLED display panels. It is collaborating with Ulvac of Japan and Fine Metal Masks (FMM) for the acquisition. This is expected to bring the project cost down but whether Samsung will actually invest in the machine will depend on whether Apple gives its approval.
If everything goes as per plans, Samsung should place the machinery order during the third quarter of this year. It is then expected to get delivered in 2023 with manufacturing getting underway for an OLED iPad release in 2024. It is important to note that Apple is also in talks with other display makers like BOE and LG Display. We will have to wait and see how things pan out.