Apple Making Big Moves in OLED Technology for Future iPhone Lineup

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Recent news reports show that Apple has acquired a chemical vapour deposition (CVD) machines company Sunic Systems Limited. Sunic Systems, a Korean-based company headquartered in Suwon, is a subsidiary of Dong A Eltek Co., Ltd. The company is into manufacturing OLED equipment, including inline, cluster type and multi-layer and flexible substrate encapsulation; sputters; MOCVD; and etchers.

Apple’s initiative is to bring down its dependence on the Chinese suppliers as its ramps up its research and development into OLED panels. As it ramps up, the product differentiation will help. Rumor suggests that, starting from iPhone 8, all future devices will feature an OLED screen, excluding iPhone 7s and 7s plus, which will feature the thicker and heavier traditional LCD screen.

Apple has acquired the Korea-based company to build a 2.5G OLED panel line to develop related technology in Taiwan, and is looking for production and supply for both pilot and mass production.

Apple is currently in a formal agreement with Samsung for two years to supply OLED panels for iPhone 8, Apple’s anniversary iPhone, and for the next generation models scheduled for 2018.  It is said to be supplying up to 92 million curved OLED panels which are likely to be used in iPhone 8, iPhone Pro or iPhone X – the many names of the 10th anniversary iPhone.

“Samsung has bought five sets of OLED manufacturing equipment from Canon Tokki so far in 2017 and has signed contracts to buy five out of 10 such machines to be rolled out by the Japan-based machinery company in 2018,” said Commercial Times.

Canon Tokki Corporation, the Japanese company supplying CVD machines, is said to be shipping the bulk of its production to Samsung. With the recent news of Apple’s acquisition of the machines from Sunic Systems, the Canon Tokki might see a fall in its CVD’s market position.

“Canon Tokki is a mechatronics manufacturer that develops, designs manufactures, and sells systems for manufacturing next-generation OLED displays and thin-film photovoltaic cells, as well as other products based on vacuum process technology”.

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