Apple is preparing to adopt OLED screens for its iPad Pro tablets launching next year, TheElec has learned.
Samsung Display and LG Display, which currently supplies OLED panels for iPhones, were currently developing the new OLED panel for the new tablets that will likely launch in the second half of 2021.
Samsung Display was renovating one of its production line at its A4 factory in Asan to produce the OLED screens for the iPad. The company was adding adding a distribution chamber to the organic material deposition chamber to deposit red, green and blue in tandem. This will allow the firm to deposit one layer of RGB, send the substrate back to the front of the production line, and stack an emitting layer atop it.
Tandem structure allows two to three emitting layers to be stacked __ this is done to extend the life of the emitting layer compared to using just one layer.
Tablets are conventionally used longer than smartphones. Having just one emitting layer may inadvertently cause burn-in from the blue OLED losing brightness from extended use.
Apple was requiring higher specs for the OLED that will be used for its iPad Pro from Samsung Display and LG Display compared to screens that provide for iPhones, people familiar with the matter said.
LG Display had applied the RGB tandem structure for OLED supplied to cars. It is using its E5 factory at Gumi to produce these OLED screens. LG was using the factory to produce OLED samples for the new iPad Pro.
Samsung Display is dominant in OLED for mobile applications but LG Display has been developing OLED for cars and is expanding supply of those to US and European car makers.
However, Apple’s plans to use OLED screen for its premium tablet line may be delayed depending on the scale of adoption miniLED liquid crystal display (LCD).
Apple is expected to use direct backlight LCD panels for the iPad Pro launching in the first half of 2021. This will make the panels thicker compared to the currently used edge method __ where backlight is attached at the sides of the LCD panels and a light guide plate is used to spread the light to the whole screen.
However, using direct backlight will allow selective turning on and off of LED __ this allows for local dimming that increases contrast ratio. The edge method had required all the lights to be turned on and off at once.
Samsung Electronics has also begun to use LCD for its Galaxy Tab series of tablets, starting this year. Galaxy Tab S7 uses CSOT’s 11-inch LCD panel.
According to Strategy Analytics, tablet shipment increased by 33% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2020. This was due to the rise of remote work in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apple and Samsung saw their tablet shipments increase 49% and 87%, respectively, compared to a year ago during the quarter. Apple moved 15.1 million units while Samsung shipped 9.4 million units.