According to an article on the Nikkei Asian Review website Apple has recently placed orders for flexible OLED panels with Samsung Electronics for use in 70 million handsets this yea.
The large order suggests that Apple expects its new premium iPhone 8 to be launched late 2017 to fly off the shelves. An unnamed supply chain source familiar with iPhone designs revealed the size of the order, which was in line with an estimate by IHS Markit's industry analysis.
This will be the first time Apple has adopted a curved OLED screen for its flagship iPhones - which is being given a major overhaul and there is high expectations for the model.
Samsung Electronics declined to comment, saying it cannot reveal customers' orders.
Apple is expected to launch three iPhone 8 models for the handset's 10th anniversary. The premium iPhone 8, which is believed will cost more than US$1,000, will sport a slightly curved 5.2-inch OLED screen. The other two iPhone handsets, measuring 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, will adopt existing liquid crystal display technology without curved screens.
Industry and market analysts are expecting a record year for Apple due to growing hype for the upcoming iPhone. With Jeff Pu of Taipei-based Yuanta Investment Consulting estimates that Apple can ship as many as 100 million new iPhones this year, and at least 55 million will be OLED handsets.
The industry source familiar with iPhone design says all three handsets will come with wireless charging functions, although suppliers are still trying to resolve overheating issues. They will also be waterproof.
Further, at least one model will carry a 3-D sensor that allows facial recognition as part of new biometric features. The premium handset will have no home button while the other two will retain the feature.
Other news reports suggest that Apple has agreed to pay US$ 4.3 billion for 60 million OLED displays - about US$71.67 per display.
David Hsieh Research Director IHS- Market, said "Apple has ordered 70 million units of OLED panels from Samsung this year, while Samsung is preparing to churn out as many as 95 million for Apple in 2017, in case demand exceeds expectations." David, added, "It is also possible that some of these 70 million handsets will not be shipped to customers this year and be carried over to next year depending on demand."