Apple Seeks New OLED Screens For iPhone 8 [REPORT]

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Apple is said to be planning to adopt LED tech for next year’s big upgrade to its flagship product. For this, the Cupertino-based firm will have to procure a lot of OLED screens. As a result, Japanese suppliers are under pressure to develop manufacturing operations, notes Bloomberg.

Heavy investment from Japanese suppliers

Apple, which prefers to go with multiple suppliers, is said to be in negotiations with Sharp Corp. for OLED screen orders. Also Japan Display is reportedly working hard to build up its OLED production capabilities. The initial costs could be as high as $2 billion for each, pushing their finances up even before they get a single order. They do not have any other choices though, notes Bloomberg.

LCDs, or liquid-crystal displays, used to be on almost every phone and are still the standard for TVs, but now the smartphone industry is moving away from it. The most costly smartphones usually feature OLED displays now because of their ability to deliver brighter and sharper images while using less battery power. Also they are very flexible, which opens up the possibility of innovations like bendable phones.

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Apple has been behind competitors in embracing OLED tech. Google’s Pixel phones and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 already feature OLED screens. Dozens of phones from Oppo, HTC, Motorola and other manufacturers use the displays as well.

Presently Samsung dominates the smartphone OLED market, accounting for 99% of the shipments in the first half of the year, according to IHS Markit. According to Bloomberg, Apple could be in talks with Samsung for OLED displays. As of now, there have been no comments from Apple about its plans regarding OLED tech.

Apple opening R&D hotbed in Japan

In other Apple news, a new research and development facility will open soon in Japan. Last week during a press conference in Tokyo, a spokesperson for Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the U.S. firm is planning to finish construction of a new development center in Yokohama, the second largest city in Japan. The Xinhua News Agency reported that Apple’s new research and development facility should open in December.

Previously the Japanese electronics manufacturer Panasonic occupied the site of Apple’s new development center. In April, AppleInsider first reported Apple’s plans to open the Yokohama center. Citing a Japanese blog, the website said the facility will have many buildings instead of just one. It also reported that the U.S. firm will hire researchers in the health industry, vehicles and materials science.