Apple won't adopt AMOLED displays in iPhones until 2019 at the earliest, insider says

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2015
Apple won't embrace AMOLED display technology in the iPhone in the near future, instead opting to stick with its current LCD panels until at least 2018, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said on Tuesday.


The Apple Watch is currently Apple's only AMOLED display device.


The details from Kuo specifically dismissed recent rumors claiming that Apple could switch to an AMOLED display for its 2016 "iPhone 7" upgrade. That's unlikely, Kuo said, as Apple's suppliers continue to invest in advanced LCD technology likely to power iPhones for years to come.

Specifically, Kuo noted that Foxconn has inked a deal with the government of Henan Province, China, to build sixth-generation LTPS TFT-LCD production lines in Zhengzhou. The plant will enter mass production in 2018, and Kuo is "confident" that the huge investment is for earning TFT-LCD orders for future iPhones.

In addition, Japanese supplier Minebea, which provides backlight units for Apple's iPhone lineup, told investors earlier this month that it does not foresee risk of TFT-LCD share loss to AMOLED in the high-end smartphone market. Minebea officials believe that demand for LCD panels will remain strong in the high-end smartphone market over the next three years.

LCD offers a number of advantages over OLED, including production cost, supply flexibility, product life, and visibility in sunlight. In contrast, OLED panels are known for bright colors and power consumption savings, which is why Apple adopted OLED technology in its wearable Apple Watch.




One key difference, however, is the Apple Watch features a dark user interface, with most screens displaying black backgrounds on white text. Darker UIs can help to stretch out battery life on OLED displays, but that advantage does not exist when using LCD, which requires a backlight to illuminate all pixels regardless of color. Without a dark UI, an iPhone with OLED wouldn't be able to realize the same level of power savings.

Estimates from earlier this year concluded that the AMOLED panel in the Apple Watch is far more costly than a traditional LCD display, despite just being 1.5 inches in its largest size.

Minebea has also said it is working with other suppliers on next-generation, ultra-thin LED chips and optical sheets. Further innovations in that space are expected to boost LCD competition with AMOLED.

Kuo has a strong track record in predicting Apple's future product plans, most notably being the first to report in January that Apple's iPad Pro would be accompanied by a pressure-sensitive stylus, officially known as the Apple Pencil. He also revealed in March that Apple would expand the Apple Watch lineup this fall with new-color cases, and dismissed the possibility of a new 4-inch iPhone in 2015.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Kuo does not have a strong track record.
  • Reply 2 of 73
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,530member

    If you are an Apple customer like me and tend to trust the company’s decisions about technology deployment then you accept that there is a valid reason Apple isn’t onboard with AMOLED yet. I also tend to ignore the pontifications of anonymous online techies about specs and what is or is not the superior technology du jour. 

  • Reply 3 of 73
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,713member
    rogifan wrote: »
    Kuo does not have a strong track record.

    I dunno. . .
    He seems to be closer to right than wrong with most of what we read here. Perhaps all we read at AI are the "right" ones?
  • Reply 4 of 73
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    I dunno. . .
    He seems to be closer to right than wrong with most of what we read here. Perhaps all we read at AI are the "right" ones?

    He's a supply chain analyst making guesses but every time he puts out a research note rumor sites treat it as some big major story.
  • Reply 5 of 73
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:


    LCD offers a number of advantages over OLED, including production cost, supply flexibility, product life, and visibility in sunlight. In contrast, OLED panels are known for bright colors and power consumption savings,


    I don't think product life is an issue with OLED panels.  The existence of mainstream OLED panel equipped TVs and Phones should have put that one to rest - likewise the sunlight visibility assertion: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Display-outdoor-visibility-comparison-Samsung-Galaxy-S6-vs-Apple-iPhone-6-vs-HTC-One-M9-vs-Note-4_id69185

     

    Not mentioned among the OLED advantages was contrast ratio, which is significantly better.

  • Reply 6 of 73
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,267member
    I don't see the advantages to AMOLED yet. While Samsung has increased maximum brightness to the level of a good LCD, it's just an automatic setting, and it's just for sunlight conditions, where AMOLED has been very poor. It can't be set manually, as keeping it that way will burn the AMOLED out in short order.

    So while the brightness has improved for AMOLEDs over the years, it hasn't been by much for general usefulness, while LCD brightness, mostly due to newer LED backlights, and newer technologies, has improved significantly.

    As for imoroved color gamut, Apple has shown that by using their red/green LED backlights on the new iMacs, a much greater gamut can be obtained without going to AMOLED.

    AMOLED still has an advantage in absolute black, but not as much as it did several years ago. It has an advantage in thinness. Otherwise, not so much yet.
  • Reply 7 of 73

    I'm a fan of "inky" blacks, but I have no complaints with the LCD displays in my iPhone and iPad in this regard. They offer as good or better contrast than any LCD television or computer monitor I've seen. However, I did see my first OLED TV recently. The virtually infinite contrast is amazing. Once experienced, you cannot "unsee" it and it'll serve as a reference from that point forward.

  • Reply 8 of 73
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,267member
    cnocbui wrote: »
    I don't think product life is an issue with OLED panels.  The existence of mainstream OLED panel equipped TVs and Phones should have put that one to rest - likewise the sunlight visibility assertion: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Display-outdoor-visibility-comparison-Samsung-Galaxy-S6-vs-Apple-iPhone-6-vs-HTC-One-M9-vs-Note-4_id69185

    Not mentioned among the OLED advantages was contrast ratio, which is significantly better.

    The contrast ratio measurements are meaningless. They're measured from a black of 000. So a display with a brightness From 000 to 325 nits, which is pretty typical for AMOLED, is considered to be infinite. But most led displays have a brightness from 003 to 550 nits. That's actually a much larger ratio in real world conditions.
  • Reply 9 of 73
    http://daringfireball.net/linked/2015/11/05/kuo-3d-touch-claim-chowder

    Might be helpful to remember his real track record when seeing a Ming-Chi rumor.
  • Reply 10 of 73
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,267member
    cnocbui wrote: »
    I don't think product life is an issue with OLED panels.  The existence of mainstream OLED panel equipped TVs and Phones should have put that one to rest - likewise the sunlight visibility assertion: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Display-outdoor-visibility-comparison-Samsung-Galaxy-S6-vs-Apple-iPhone-6-vs-HTC-One-M9-vs-Note-4_id69185

    Not mentioned among the OLED advantages was contrast ratio, which is significantly better.

    Display life is actually a big issue. Samsung limits that max brightness to an automatic mode which switches off as soon as you get to an area where the sun isn't a direct factor. You can't set the display through the full range of brightness. The normal max brightness is around 350 nits, which is much lower than the 550 nits, or so the iPhone can be set to. That's because the extra current to the AMOLED will beat it up too much, and shorten the life, particularly for the blue and green components.
  • Reply 11 of 73
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post



    http://daringfireball.net/linked/2015/11/05/kuo-3d-touch-claim-chowder



    Might be helpful to remember his real track record when seeing a Ming-Chi rumor.

    Wow that is for real? That is some awfully weak tasting chowder IMO.

     

    Kuo got the big ticket item correct, force touch. It was only the meaningless little things that he got wrong.

     

    Who cares how he imagined it would work or what the next iPhone would be called? Kuo absolutely got it right on the most important thing, that "force touch" aka "3D touch" would be a huge tent pole feature on the next iPhone.

  • Reply 12 of 73
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post



    http://daringfireball.net/linked/2015/11/05/kuo-3d-touch-claim-chowder



    Might be helpful to remember his real track record when seeing a Ming-Chi rumor.

     

    These guys are like home run hitters.  they fail completely almost 70% of the time, squib a hit 20% of the time, and hit a home run every 10-11 attempts.  But we remember the home runs, and every time the come to the plate, they swing hard, in case they make contact.

  • Reply 13 of 73
    lkrupp wrote: »
    If you are an Apple customer like me and tend to trust the company’s decisions about technology deployment then you accept that there is a valid reason Apple isn’t onboard with AMOLED yet. I also tend to ignore the pontifications of anonymous online techies about specs and what is or is not the superior technology du jour. 

    1) They are using AMOLED as of this year.

    2) The rumour is for 2019, so the discussion should be if they could, should or would be using it by then. I think it's entirely possible, but overall I'd say it's not likely, unless someone can show there are stumbling blocks for LCD and improvements for AMOLED in the coming years. For the Apple Watch it was the only real option to get a deep black that matched the bezel and to help keep power usage down on most apps by using as few lighted pixels as possible. With the iPhone that simply isn't an option, which is why I'd wager against AMOLED based on the available information.
  • Reply 14 of 73
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Kuo does not have a strong track record. Stop with this nonsense AI.


    I dunno. . .

    He seems to be closer to right than wrong with most of what we read here. Perhaps all we read at AI are the "right" ones?

    He does seem to know about as much as anybody who is not working directly for Apple. 

     

    If he was wrong THAT much of the time, then websites would start to ignore him. But he is not wrong enough to ignore.

     

    Now a guy like Gene Munster, that dude has got it wrong enough to be ignored.

     

    Kuo gets enough right that he is hard to ignore and worth paying attention to. 

     

    Mark Gurman has had a solid track record too.

  • Reply 15 of 73
    irelandireland Posts: 17,493member

    Stop calling him an insider. He's a production analyst and he has made more mistakes than is been painted on AI.

  • Reply 16 of 73
    irelandireland Posts: 17,493member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zroger73 View Post

     

    I'm a fan of "inky" blacks, but I have no complaints with the LCD displays in my iPhone and iPad in this regard.


     

    iPhone 6 blacks with just some white text on screen are worse than iPhone 5 in that scenario thanks to the larger back-light. Colours are very good and looks incredibly accurate, but blacks (for say movie credits) leave a lot to be desired. A Kuro TV mops the floor with an iPhone in this regard. And yes, I did compared them. It's allowed.

  • Reply 17 of 73
    I thought that part of the reason for the LCD screen was to be able to have a white background on the screen for marketing reasons seperate from the tech details.

    The other screens have a native dark background and the iPhone's is less power consuming to show light background?

    Easily visible to a glance what phone you are using?

    Does not the AMOLED consumes more power to show white than the LCD?
  • Reply 18 of 73
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

     

     

    iPhone 6 blacks with just some white text on screen are worse than iPhone 5 in that scenario thanks to the larger back-light. Colours are very good and looks incredibly accurate, but blacks (for say movie credits) leave a lot to be desired. A Kuro TV mops the floor with an iPhone in this regard. And yes, I did compared them. It's allowed.


    I may not have noticed this since I went from a 4S to a 6.

     

    Either way, "once you go black you can never go back" so the saying goes. :)

  • Reply 19 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TechLover View Post

     

    Wow that is for real? That is some awfully weak tasting chowder IMO.

     

    Kuo got the big ticket item correct, force touch. It was only the meaningless little things that he got wrong.

     

    Who cares how he imagined it would work or what the next iPhone would be called? Kuo absolutely got it right on the most important thing, that "force touch" aka "3D touch" would be a huge tent pole feature on the next iPhone.


    Force Touch wasn't hard to figure out. It was already available on the watch. That's a pretty easy thing to predict that it was coming to the iPhone. The overwhelming majority of things Kuo is right on is just stating the obvious.

  • Reply 20 of 73
    melgross wrote: »
    Display life is actually a big issue. Samsung limits that max brightness to an automatic mode which switches off as soon as you get to an area where the sun isn't a direct factor. You can't set the display through the full range of brightness. The normal max brightness is around 350 nits, which is much lower than the 550 nits, or so the iPhone can be set to. That's because the extra current to the AMOLED will beat it up too much, and shorten the life, particularly for the blue and green components.

    Actually the latest generation panels can exceed 550 nits without automatic brightness according to Anandtech.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/9558/the-samsung-galaxy-note5-and-galaxy-s6-edge-review/3


    The automatic mode can send the brightness above 850 nits.

    http://www.displaymate.com/Galaxy_Note5_ShootOut_1.htm
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