Last year, it was reported that Apple's mid-range iPads could use Samsung's OLED panel in 2022 and that the South Korean firm is upgrading its OLED production line. However, Apple reportedly canceled that plan in late 2021, citing brightness issues, cost, and durability. It is being reported that Apple is still interested in using Samsung's OLED panels for future iPads, but there's a catch.
According to TheElec's new report, Apple would need to place an OLED order large enough to be financially viable for Samsung. During the initial phase of this plan, Samsung Display wanted to make a single-stack OLED panel. However, Apple demanded a two-stack structure for higher brightness and durability, but it would've increased the cost, and the plan was later shelved.
Samsung Display might lower the cost of two-stack OLED panels if it can obtain new machinery. The report claims that Samsung Display is trying to get a vertical deposition machine (in collaboration with Japan's Ulvac) and FMM (Fine Metal Masks) for depositing organic materials precisely on the substrate. It may result in lower costs for Samsung's 8.5 Gen OLED panels (2200x2500mm).
If Samsung secures the OLED panel order from Apple, it could invest in new-generation OLED manufacturing equipment by Q3 2022. The machinery could be delivered in 2023, and Samsung can finally start shipping those new OLED panels to Apple by 2024. Looking at this schedule, OLED iPads could be launched by the end of 2024.
However, Samsung Display is not the only firm in contention for Apple's OLED order. LG Display is also reportedly working on two-stack OLED panels for iPads. LG Display has been supplying OLED panels for iPhones for the past few years, so an extension to that partnership isn't surprising.
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