The four major suppliers for LED display components do not have enough capacities for making screens for all the new iPhone devices.
LED Display for iPhones
Apple has plans for bringing LED display screens for its next generation of iPhones to be released in 2017. The technology is a new one and other smartphone manufacturers are already offering such LED displays on their flagship devices. However, the problem is that four of the major suppliers for these parts do not seem to have the capacity to produce the screens needed for all of the new devices in the coming year. The constraints might even continue up to the following year, 2018, according to reports from those familiar with this matter. This might present a substantial challenge for the Cupertino based company.
Difficulty of Production
It is known that it is comparatively difficult to produce OLED screens, so Apple will be dependent on these suppliers, who are still working on manufacturing these displays on mass scales. The four major producers of the components are Samsung Display and LG Display companies along with Sharp Corp and also Japan Display Inc.
Samsung seems to be on the track with its supplies for the new OLED displays for the 2017 iPhones, but the company might not be able to produce enough, as the yield rates are low and the demand for iPhones are on the increase. With these problems in the supply system, Apple will probably resort to using the OLED display screen for only one of the versions in the next gen iPhones of 2017. Another alternative would be to postpone its adoption of the new technology.
Demand for OLED Screens
Apple realizes that there will surely be great demand for devices with OLED screens. The company is also aware that the OLED panels will suffer from some constraints, according to Panzica, an analyst of supply chains based in IHS Markit. Apple is known for its stringent quality demands and it is already obvious that OLED panels are difficult to produce. Both these factors will result in constraints in the supply chain of the OLED screens.
2017 also happens to be the tenth anniversary of the debut of iPhones, so the company wants to introduce atleast one version with the new OLED screens, according to sources. It is likely that two of the models might come with the older LCD screens, as there might not be sufficient number of OLED displays for satisfying the expected demand, says Ming Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities.
All Glass Structure
The OLED smartphone will provide the appearance of glass extending along the display and moving to the back and the edge of the phone. This is an all glass kind of design and will come with virtual Home buttons that cannot be pressed and that are embedded in the screen, rather than physical buttons. Apple usually offers a new technology for iPhones in case of all the models, when it unveils a new model in September every year. For instance, the 3D Touch feature and the Apple Pay feature was introduced lately for all its versions. However, this time the company might not have a choice.