Apple had decided long ago to explore AMOLED displays when they recruited a former senior researcher at LG Display, Dr. Lee Jeung-jil, who was in charge of researching OLED printing technology. While Apple's first iDevice to utilize AMOLED was the Apple Watch, Apple's many patent applications on this type of display (one, two) point to it one day expanding to Apple's iPad and beyond. OLED based displays have traditionally been a little more expensive than LCD displays, yet eliminate the need for a backlight which currently drains battery life faster. These are features that Apple knows will have to eventually come to the iPhone. The cost factor may soon be a thing of the past as LG and the Korean Government announced their collaboration to boost the market for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, which LG has identified as its next growth engine.
The Korean press is reporting today that LG will be investing US$8.5 billion in OLED production by over the next 2 and half years. During the ceremony, LG Display's CEO Han Sang-beom pointed to their latest OLED display technology being a "game-changer" without providing any details.
OLED displays work without a backlight, which allows the display to show deeper blacks and richer colors along with sleeker and lighter designs. At the same time, its production is tougher and they're pricier than LCD at the moment which could change.
The company, which was the first to roll out OLED TVs together with its sister firm LG Electronics, plans to strengthen its leadership position in OLED TVs and to diversify revenue sources to smaller mobile devices and automotive displays.
Seoul earlier identified OLED as one the country's major export items and the trade ministry is providing various tax incentives such as heavy cuts in tariffs when buying OLED equipment from local suppliers. The investment will generate up to 130,000 new jobs.
While there's no chance that Apple will be making the shift to OLED display in their upcoming iPhone cycles, the shift to OLED displays could now at least be on Apple's radar for the future. Especially if there's a 'game changing' technology associated with the new displays that Apple could take advantage of. But as always, only time will tell.