Apple to Introduce IT Devices with OLED Displays, Starting with iPad Pro in 2024

Omdia is reporting that Apple is planning to introduce IT devices with OLED displays, starting with the iPad Pro in 2024 and the MacBook Pro in 2026. LG Display (LGD) and Samsung Display (SDC) are preparing to mass-produce RGB tandem stack and hybrid OLEDs for Apple’s devices. This move comes after Apple’s successful use of OLED displays in the Apple Watch and iPhone since 2014.

The adoption of OLED displays for larger IT devices poses technical challenges. These devices are typically used at greater viewing distances and for longer durations. To address these challenges, RGB tandem stack OLEDs are being developed, which offer higher brightness efficiency and longer lifetime compared to RGB single stack OLEDs. However, the increased material requirements and expanded evaporation systems make optimizing each layer crucial for productivity and cost effectiveness.

Hybrid OLEDs, manufactured using glass substrates via thin-film encapsulation (TFE), offer advantages such as being thinner, lighter, and more economical than flexible OLEDs. Glass substrates are flatter and stronger, making them suitable for larger displays. The integration of technologies like touch sensors and color filters on TFE, under-panel cameras, and micro light-control patterns can further enhance the value and quality of hybrid OLEDs.

As display sizes grow beyond 20 inches, glass encapsulation may replace TFE due to potential yield rate challenges. However, if the yield rate for larger-sized TFE can be stabilized, it may continue to be used.

Apple’s strategy to diversify its IT OLED manufacturing technology is driven by the unique requirements of each device, including size, viewing distance, brightness, lifetime, and control method. By adopting different OLED technologies based on application-specific needs, Apple aims to optimize performance, yield rates, and cost structures for its IT devices.

LG Display, Samsung Display, and BOE are among the key companies involved in the mass production and fab investments required for RGB tandem stack and hybrid OLEDs used in Apple’s devices.