04 April 2019
Japan Display will reportedly be the main supplier of OLED screens for this year’s new Apple Watch. The display manufacturing giant is on the verge of securing as much as $990 million in new financing to aid OLED production as the demand for LCD panels is dwindling.
The report stated that Japan Display, which relied on Apple for more than half of its revenue in the year ended March 2018. The company has been able to secure a deal with Apple to supply screens for the Apple Watch Series 5, which is a big blow to LG who currently supply the majority of Apple Watch displays.
Japan Display will also continue to supply Apple with LCD screens for the iPhone XR, which is the only handset in Apple’s latest line-up that still uses LCD panels. However, with sales of its most affordable flagship being lower than expected, some suppliers are struggling.
Last year, Japan Display saw more than half of its revenue coming in from Apple Inc. The shift to OLED production means that the company is feeling the impact of falling demand for LCDs.
LG is currently the primary supplier of Apple Watch display, while Samsung is the exclusive manufacturer of OLED screens for the iPhone. The OLED display market is currently dominated by Samsung Electronics. Most smartphone makers are shifting to OLED displays for flagship products which are generally thinner and allow more flexibility than LCD screens.
Hiroshi Hayase, senior director at IHS Markit, stated that it a positive step for Japan Display, however, the company has a rough road, “Hurdles would be high to win orders for iPhones,” Hayase said. “Samsung Display has built up its experience, technologies and production capacity over more than a decade. Can Japan Display really compete with such a rival and make ends meet?”