Samsung upgrading OLED line in pursuit of iPad Pro (2021) contract

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Last updated: November 23rd, 2020 at 13:16 UTC+02:00

Samsung is currently trying to woo Apple with an upgraded line of small-sized OLED displays in hopes of scoring a contract for the iPad Pro (2021) series. Industry sources from the company’s home country claim the factory undergoing the remodeling is the A4 plant that Samsung operates in Asan-si, Chungnam. Apple is said to have asked both Samsung Display and LG Display for significantly higher specifications compared to the largely Samsung-dependent iPhone 12 family and is still awaiting price quotes from both manufacturers.

In response to that request, Samsung is reportedly ramping up the production capabilities of its new Blue QLED technology which it perfected just weeks ago. LG, however, already has the necessary setup for mass-manufacturing tablet-sized OLEDs based on a similar tandem structure due to a number of dashboard screen contracts it previously won from European and American automakers.

Apple asked for higher iPad display specs but isn’t sure it wants to pay for them

LG’s advantage may not matter if Apple opts to launch the new iPad Pro line later than Q1 2021. Yet reports from several months ago suggested it is planning to introduce the new iOS tablets early next year. Furthermore, it would naturally prefer to go with LED LCDs over traditional OLEDs due to the associated costs – assuming the former tech is advanced enough to serve as a viable alternative. Which modern display techniques like local dimming do make possible.

Finally, Samsung Display’s lucrative Apple contract has been threatened for a while now, and today’s report underlines the risks its business faces should Cupertino decide to prioritize cost-effectiveness over innovation with the next generation of its high-end tablets. Because it tends to sell a lot of those every year. And high-margin product lineups like the iPad Pro are ripe for optimization that has kind of been the keyword of Tim Cook’s CEO stint.

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