Japan Display, controlled by Sony and others, to make OLED displays for upcoming iPhone, possibly 4K TVs

by on January 25, 2016

Stephan Jukic – January 25, 2016

In 2018, Japan Display, which is a company formed by the major brands Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi, will start mass producing new OLED device displays by 2018, according to recent announcements from the new company. Furthermore, in a related twist, rumors have it that Apple will release and OLED-based iPhone in that same year.

More importantly and concretely though, the news about Japan Display’s new foray into OLED displays shows that the OLED technology market certainly might have a serious future. First it was LG with its pioneering and surprisingly popular 4K TVs with the technology, since 2014, and then in late 2015/early 2016, Panasonic jumped into the OLED TV pool too, with its new CZ line of 4K TVs with OLED technology, and now Japan Display is coming along as third player, though in this case with OLED smartphone screens.

And to be frank, OLED should have a future as a mainstream display technology, whether in TVs or in other display types, at least unless something even better and cheaper comes along. Simply put, while OLED may still be pricey, the visual quality it produces is truly something above the ordinary and even the best LED/LCD 4K TVs don’t quite compare to what we’ve seen so far in OLED, particularly as far as perfect control of contrast is concerned.

Moving back to the news about Japan Display, rumors about the company developing OLED displays for iPhones have been circulating for at least a month but only now has the manufacturer itself confirmed that they are working on mass production for 2018, starting with iPhone smartphone displays.

According to Akio Takimoto, chief of the research center at Japan Display, “We will take advantage of our advanced thin-film transistor technology in developing OLED”.

OLED technology lends itself extremely well to ultra-thin displays

OLED technology lends itself extremely well to ultra-thin displays

Japan Display itself exists as a joint venture formed in cooperation between Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi. The company has also received some 2 billion in state funding from Japan’s Innovation Network Corp, an agency of the Japanese Federal government.

Further details on the new company’s OLED plans are a bit sketchy due to corporate secrecy and we can’t yet be sure if we’ll see JD’s specific technology appear in actual 4K UHD TVs soon after their initial plans for smartphone OLED display in 2018, starting with an “iPhone 8” with the company’s OLED technology. Since JD already makes LCD displays for existing Apple phones, the eventual transition to OLED in the devices is a sort of natural shift.

The current king of OLED via its 4K UHD TVs with the technology, LG, has also announced a new $9 billion factory devoted to mass production of the technology, for cheaper, more mass-market OLED 4K TVs. Other rumors also peg Samsung as working on its own multi-billion dollar OLED display factory.

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