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Apple to use AU Optronics as third supplier for AMOLED screens, pumps money into effort

We’ve been hearing a lot about Apple and its decision to ditch the current LCD screens for AMOLED displays in 2018 (or 2019, depending on whom you ask), and it’s been said that Apple’s infatuation with AMOLED displays is as far off as two years from now. That may or may not be true, but Apple is working hard on securing its AMOLED display suppliers. A new report out of Taiwan says that AU Optronics will become the “third wheel” in a triangle of suppliers involving both LG Display and Samsung.

AU Optronics has been in the AMOLED display business for over a decade, and, despite the company’s business from clients such as third-largest world manufacturer Huawei, has never had to invest so much money into spinning AMOLED displays for a client such as Apple, who leads the world in smartphone profit by a large margin. Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode displays, or AMOLED displays as they’re commonly called, have some benefits over Apple’s current use of liquid crystal displays — two being that they 1) conserve battery life and 2) are easier to read in sunlight. Apple has been improving the legibility of its iPhone displays in sunlight, but AMOLED displays are still in a category of their own. Additionally, while Apple leads the world in its top-tier LCD screens, Samsung is still the King of the smartphone display according to panel expert company DisplayMate. Apple utilizes low-temperature polysilicon (or LTPS) technology in its current displays, but Apple’s iPads, for example, have still suffered with some burn-out display issues in days past. AMOLED displays don’t have burn out problems, but they do tend to turn “yellowish” if the user engages their brightness over a two-year period (the life of the device for many users).

AMOLED panels do have another major advantage over LCDs, though: whereas LCD screens mandate the use of a backlight which mandates a second battery source, AMOLED displays provide lighting within the display itself — leaving room to conserve battery without mandating an additional battery and allowing displays and devices to become thinner and lighter without compromising great display quality. Both LG and Samsung have been in the display business for years and produce some of the best displays on mobile devices. Samsung, Apple’s world rival, however, leads the way in display shipments and quality. What some may not want to admit, however, is that Apple’s decision to utilize AMOLED screens in future iPhones is a testimony that current iPhone displays still leave much to be desired.

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