Display, opto, LEDs

 

Apple’s nye OLED IT roadmap booster OLED penetrationen på mobil PC-markedetMobile PC OLED panel shipment forecast (source: Omdia)

Apple’s nye OLED IT roadmap booster OLED penetrationen på mobil PC-markedet

'Senior Director' David Hsieh fra analysefirmaet Omdia ser nærmere på, hvilken betydning Apple's adoption af 11- og12.9-inch OLED i iPad Pro enheder får for det generelle mobile PC-markedet (in english). 2024.

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By Senior Director David Hsieh, Omdia

Since 4Q23, LG Display and Samsung Display have been working on manufacturing new OLED panels for the iPad Pro. LG Display is developing two types of hybrid OLED panels: 11 inches with a 2388x1668 resolution and 12.9 inches (also known as 13 inches) with a 2880x1920 resolution. These panels have been designed for the new iPad Pro tablet PCs, which have qualified for mass production and are set to launch in late 2Q24.

Samsung Display is also developing an 11-inch hybrid OLED panel with a 2388x1668 resolution. The panel qualified for mass production in 1Q24.

The qualification and mass production of the iPad Pro hybrid OLED panels is an important milestone for OLED penetration in the mobile PC market, including notebooks and tablet PCs.

The milestone can be interpreted in the following ways:

-  A new era of OLED technology: The hybrid OLED displays will be built in Samsung Display’s Gen 6 fab. The displays will feature a glass-type LTPO backplane (but with thin film flexible encapsulation), tandem RGB OLED materials, and a hole form factor.

- New capacity: LG Display’s E6 Gen 6 flexible OLED fab and Samsung Display’s A3 Gen 6 flexible OLED fab will be used for mass production. Both fabs were originally designed for smartphone display applications but have been revamped to facilitate the 11-inch to 12.9-inch panel production.

- High panel prices and costs: Omdia estimates that the new hybrid OLED panels will be priced at $80–90 for the 11-inch displays and $120–130 for the 12.9-inch display. If calculated with the touch and cover lens module, the additional $20–30 cost will be necessary. This marks the highest tablet PC panel prices in the same size range.

- Great volumes of hybrid OLED shipments: In 2023, 7.1 million units of mobile PC OLEDs were shipped. This includes 3.4 million units of notebook OLEDs and 3.7 million units of tablet PC applications. However, shipments of mobile PC OLEDs in 2023 declined from 9.5 million units in 2022. In 2024, the new forecast shows that shipments of mobile PC OLED panels will hit 17.2 million units, including 5.1 million units of notebook PCs and 12.1 million units of tablet PCs. In other words, tablet PC OLED shipments will increase from 3.7 million units in 2023 to 12.1 million units in 2024, thanks to the adoption of these panels in the new iPad Pro. Both LG Display and Samsung Display began shipping panels in January 2024, with LG Display shipping the 13-inch panels and Samsung Display shipping the 11-inch panels. Furthermore, LG Display and Samsung Display are targeting to ship 4.5 million units and 4 million units, respectively, in 2024.

In 2024, Apple adopted OLED displays, which were already successful in penetrating the tablet and notebook PC market, where LCD technology was still mainstream. Since then, Apple has continuously embraced OLED displays for all its mobile PC products, including the iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and even a possible foldable iPad. This move is expected to boost OLED penetration in the market. As a result, Apple’s aggressive adoption of OLED for its mobile PCs will eventually increase the shipments of mobile PC OLED panels to 72.3 million units by 2028, representing a 14% penetration rate in the total mobile PC display market.

 

We summarized the roadmap as follows:

- Apple will launch the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro in 2024.

- Apple will launch an 8.3-inch OLED iPad mini tablet PC in 2026 and a 10.8-inch OLED iPad Air tablet PC with an LTPS backplane and single-structure RGB OLED in 2027. Omdia estimates that BOE plans to produce these panels in its newly built flexible OLED Gen 8.6 fab in 2027. Samsung Display will manufacture these panels in its existing Gen 6 flexible OLED fab. It is unsure whether LG Display will be the panel supplier.

- Apple will develop 13.6- and 15.3-inch hybrid OLED (oxide TFT/RGB tandem) displays for its MacBook Pro notebooks to replace the existing Mini LED backlight versions, targeting mass production in 2026. Omdia estimates that BOE plans to produce these panels in its newly built flexible LTPS backplane OLED Gen 8.6 fab in 2027. Samsung Display will supply the panel from its newly built oxide backplane Gen 8.6 flexible OLED fab. It remains unsure whether LG Display will be the panel supplier.

- Apple is considering equipping the MacBook Air with OLED displays with an LTPS backplane and single-structure RGB. However, this decision will depend on the marketing situation of the MacBook Pro with OLED in 2026. If it is deemed meaningful to shift the MacBook Air from LCD to OLED, it will happen no earlier than 2027. The OLED MacBook Air will have a 60Hz frame rate, which is a lower specification than the MacBook Pro’s, and it will be aimed at the consumer market. BOE may be the panel supplier if Apple launched the MacBook Air with OLED. This is because Samsung Display’s Gen 8.6 fab capacity is geared towards the MacBook Pro OLED. LG Display may not be the supplier of the MacBook Air OLED and instead focus its Gen 6 OLED capacity on the iPad Pro OLED.

- There is a possibility that Apple will introduce a 20.3-inch foldable OLED with an LTPO backplane and tandem RGB OLED structure in 2027 and beyond. The product is still in the conceptual stage.

The current mobile PC panel suppliers are Samsung Display, LG Display, EDO, BOE, and Sharp. Samsung Display and EDO are focusing on rigid OLED, while LG Display, BOE, and Sharp are focusing on flexible and even foldable mobile PC OLED. However, until now, the mobile PC OLED shipments from LG Display, BOE, EDO, and Sharp are very small, while Samsung Display dominates the mobile PC OLED market.

Currently, Samsung Galaxy, Lenovo, HP, Dell, ASUS, Huawei, BBK, Xiaomi, and LG Electronics are adopting OLED displays in their products. Apple is set to join them in 2024.

Starting from 2024, shipments of mobile OLED panels are expected to grow substantially in tablet PC and notebook PC applications. The key drivers are the Apple iPad Pro and MacBook Pro adoption, mass production of the new hybrid OLED and tandem RGB structure OLED panels, continuous manufacturing cost reduction of the panel makers with enlarged economic scale, and BOE and Samsung Display’s upcoming Gen 8.6 OLED new fabs.

 

Finally, the high price tag of the hybrid OLED may be a concern for mobile OLED brands. According to Omdia’s estimation, the panel prices are as follows:

- Apple’s 11-inch iPad Pro with hybrid OLED panel (2388x1668) may be priced at $80–90.

- For reference, Huawei’s 13.2-inch MateBook tablet PC with flexible OLED panel (2880x1920) is priced at $105–110.

- Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro with hybrid OLED tandem RGB panel may be priced at $120–130.

These OLED panel prices are significantly higher than those of the current LTPS TFT LCD tablet PC panels. However, OLED panels offer great benefits, such as a thin and light form factor, faster response time compared with LCDs, and better contrast ratio and color performance. The high panel prices indicate that brands and OEMs must sell their products with great value to justify the high panel prices.

On the other hand, the cost of the touch and cover lens module for these OLEDs is also high. Omdia’s estimations are as follows:

- The 11-inch iPad Pro has the same GF2 (cyclo olefin polymer [COP] substrate) structure for LCD- and OLED-based panels. The cost estimation is around $27–$28, which includes Gorilla Glass with anti-reflective (AR) coating, COP-based DITO ITO film, controller, adhesive, optical bonding, and assembly margin.

- For reference, the 12.9-inch Huawei MateBook with a 2160x1440 IPS LCD and OGM add-on touch module is estimated to cost around $22–24 (only includes the touch module and soda lime glass; the estimated cost does not include controller board).

- For reference, the 13.2-inch flexible OLED Huawei MatePad with a resolution of 2880x1920 and on-cell touch sensor by BOE and Visionox is estimated to cost around $8–10. The estimation cost only considers the a-Si cover glass because the cost of the on-cell touch sensor is included in the on-cell AMOLED display price.

27/2 2024

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