Korea’s Samsung Display and LG Display and China’s BOE are competing for a bigger share of Apple’s order for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays for tablets and laptops.
Apple plans to load OLED panels into its new iPad Pro models, which are scheduled to come out in 2024. The iPad is Apple’s flagship product, selling more than 70 million units annually. In the first quarter of fiscal 2023 (November 2022 to January 2023), iPad sales reached US$9.4 billion.
Apple reportedly placed orders for the development of 10.9-inch and 12.9-inch panels for the iPad with Samsung Display and LG Display. BOE was excluded.
Apple is also preparing to mass-produce MacBooks with OLED panels beginning from 2026. The MacBook is Apple’s flagship laptop, with sales of US$7.3 billion in the first quarter. Many experts expect the OLED panel size to be 14 inches and 16 inches wider than the iPad.
When the supply of OLED panels for MacBook laptop lines begins in earnest, eighth-generation lines, not sixth-generation ones, are expected to emerge as the main production line. This is because more panels can be processed only when OLED plates with a wider area than sixth-generation products are produced.
Companies are weighing the timing of beginning to invest in eighth-generation panel production lines. Samsung Display is known to be active about investing in eighth-generation panel production lines. “We will invest in eighth-generation OLED panels for laptops and tablets,” said Choi Ju-seon, CEO of Samsung Display, in an event in August of last year.