Despite finally jumping into the OLED market with the Apple Watch, Apple is not expected to migrate its handset line away from LCD technology in the near future, instead choosing to stick with LTPS-based LCD panels when it debuts its so-called "iPhone 7."
The Japan Display facility funded by Apple's recent billion-dollar prepayment could have the capacity to churn out nearly 100 million 5-inch LTPS LCD panels each year, according to a recent note to investors from J.P. Morgan analyst Narci Chang, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider. Chang believes this deal indicates that Apple is not yet prepared to evict LCD technology from its high-volume iPhone lineup, sticking with traditional panels through the "iPhone 7."
Japan Display confirmed plans for the new $1.4 billion LTPS LCD plant in central Japan earlier this month. Apple will partially fund construction of that facility, in return for exclusive access to the factory's output.
Apple has long been publicly opposed to using OLED technology in its handsets, deploying it for the first time in the forthcoming Apple Watch. That move was itself unexpected, with most industry watchers predicting that the company would stick with traditional LCDs in the months leading up to the Watch's unveiling.
Some believe that the choice of OLED for the Apple Watch indicated a shift in strategy that would see OLED displace LCD throughout Apple's mobile products. However, the new Japan Display deal — alongside a reported $2.6 billion investment in LCD production from Apple partner Foxconn — makes that an improbable scenario in the near future.