display panel


[News] Is a Foldable iPhone on the Horizon? Samsung Display’s ‘Apple Team’ Strengthening Spurs Speculation

According to South Korean electronics industry media “The Elec,” insiders have revealed that, in the year-end organizational restructuring, Samsung Display has strengthened its existing team responsible for handling demand from Cupertino, where the corporate headquarters of Apple is located.

Reportedly, the focus was on enhancing its capability to respond to the potential release of foldable devices by Apple. This suggests that an Apple foldable device might make its debut in the coming year.

The report points out that both Samsung Display and its competitor LG Display are developing a 20.25-inch foldable display for Apple’s future products. Samsung Display’s organizational restructuring appears to be a strategic move to compete more effectively against other rivals, particularly LG Display, in an effort to secure orders for Apple’s foldable panels.

Apple is Samsung Display’s most significant customer for OLED panels, and Samsung Display is the exclusive supplier of foldable OLED panels for its parent company, Samsung Electronics. Samsung Display evidently aims to leverage the experience gained in producing foldable displays for Samsung devices to prepare for potential future orders for foldable iPhones and iPads from Apple.

However, according to the analysis released by TrendForce in the second half of this year, Apple’s development in the folding field still requires time. Apple’s foray into foldables has been tepid, to say the least.

Yet, Apple’s unwavering obsession with user experience could be the culprit. Furthermore, persistent challenges with foldable tech—think panel evenness and hinge design—might be holding them back.

But here’s the kicker: Achieving perfection with larger foldable panels is somewhat simpler than their smaller counterparts. Could this mean Apple might leapfrog right into medium-sized foldable products—like laptops or tablets? Only time will tell.

TrendForce’s insights reveal that by 2023, shipments of foldable smartphones could skyrocket to an impressive 18.3 million units, marking a 43% YoY surge. However, this only captures a slim 1.6% of the year’s total smartphone market.

Fast forward to 2024, and we’re looking at another leap—a 38% growth, translating to a hefty 25.2 million units and nudging the market share up to 2.2% Looking at the medium to long term, TrendForce believes the expansion of the foldable smartphone market is inevitable. By 2027, shipments could soar to a whopping 70 million units, seizing around 5% of the global smartphone market.

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(Photo credit: Apple)

Please note that this article cites information from The Elec.


OLED Auto Panel Market Share Set to Hit 10% by 2026

The latest “Automotive Display Market Analysis” from TrendForce indicates that the overall demand for automotive display panels (automotive panels) is gradually stabilizing and shows an upward trend as the automotive market as a whole slowly recovers, and promotional activities related to smart cockpits continue to expand. TrendForce estimates that the overall supply of automotive panels will maintain growth for 2023. Additionally, by 2026, TrendForce forecasts that the annual total supply of automotive panels will surpass 240 million pieces. Furthermore, as panel makers improve their OLED products in terms of performance and cost optimization, the market share of OLED in the market for automotive panels is forecasted to reach 8.9% by 2026.

The ongoing inflation has resulted in a significant decline in the demand for consumer electronics, prompting panel manufacturers to shift their focus towards automotive displays. Regarding the development of automotive panels, automobile manufacturers are now increasingly demanding greater integration in terms of design and functionality. This opens up new opportunities for panel makers to expand their presence downstream by offering system integration services. Panel makers aim to loosen the tight control that traditional Tier-1 automotive suppliers have over various automotive parts and components. Specifically, for displays used in cockpit systems, panel manufacturers are looking to establish a new kind of supply relationship with automobile manufacturers.

Automotive displays, including rear-seat entertainment screens, passenger-side displays, central information displays, and digital clusters, are evolving into more powerful communication mediums. Moreover, to integrate the various independent functions found in a traditional cockpit, larger screens and more flexible spatial designs are required. Hence, there is room for further advancements in various display technologies. For instance, pairing LCDs with a Mini LED backlight can significantly boost display brightness to over 1,000 nits, thereby improving display visibility when external conditions like snow and bright sunlight could cause interference. OLED panels, in contrast to traditional LCDs, offer notable advantages. They are self-emissive and thinner. They have a higher refresh rate and can be built on flexible substrates. These advantages can provide significant added value for automotive displays. Flexible OLED panels, in particular, allow for more innovations in vehicle design and are primarily positioned for flagship and high-end products in the automotive market.

In order to resolve the issue of durability for OLED among automotive applications, the technology is mostly adopted with Tandem OLED, which inter-concatenates and stacks multiple OLED components to form a high-efficiency OLED structure. Double-stacked OLED components require 1/2 less current density than that of single-layer variations after concatenation and are able to improve by a minimum of a twofold increase in lifespan under a much lower power consumption from panels. As for cost, Hybrid OLED panels are incorporated, where the assimilation between rigid OLED glass substrates and the thin-film packing technology used by flexible OLED would both reduce weight and cut cost, and curving effects can also be attained through thinned substrates.

TrendForce commented that a closer partnership between panel makers and automobile manufacturers is bound to be inevitable, should the former wish to expedite their market shares, seeing how automotive displays require approximately 2-3 years for testing and qualification. Subsequent to Samsung Display successively acquiring major orders from Ferrari and BMW, automotive leader LG Display has also announced to enhance its partnership with 9 luxury automotive brands by widening in incorporation of high-end automotive OLED panels, and is scheduled to mass produce its second-generation Tandem OLED, which has been vastly improved in brightness and power consumption. While LCD adopted with Mini LED BLU (Mini LED backlight technology) races to seize the automotive market through cost advantages, OLED is accelerating its entry into the high-end automotive display market by launching ultra-large, rollable, and transparent products.


TV and Monitor Panel Prices Stabilize, Notebook Prices Continue to Rise in Late September

TV panel prices have reached relatively high levels after nearly two-quarters of increases. Brand customers face the dual pressures of weak demand and rising procurement costs, leading to early adjustments in their purchasing strategies. Third-quarter TV panel procurement has been revised down from the previous estimated 6-7% quarterly growth to near-flat levels. Fourth-quarter demand is also expected to decrease, requiring panel manufacturers to prepare for the off-season. Panel prices are anticipated to stabilize in late September.

Monitor panel demand surged in the second quarter, but third-quarter shipments are only expected to grow by 1~2%. As we approach the fourth quarter, brand customers will feel more pressure to adjust their demand. After a few months of slight price increases, monitor panel prices are expected to stabilize across the board in September.

Notebook panel demand peaked in August of the third quarter and is expected to dip slightly in September. However, overall third-quarter shipments are set to grow slightly compared to the second quarter. Some panel manufacturers aim to maintain price increases. With major brands increasing safety stock levels or working toward year-end goals, a marginal USD 0.1 increase in notebook panel prices is expected in September.


TV Panel Price Increases Converge, Monitor Panel Prices Halt Upward Trend and Stabilize

In the realm of TV panels, after experiencing consecutive growth for two quarters, brand customers are increasingly feeling the pressure of rising procurement costs. Additionally, with the momentum for year-end promotions gradually winding down, brand customers are preparing to adjust their TV panel purchases, with these adjustments expected to gradually reflect in price trends over the coming months. Looking at TV panel prices in September, it is currently projected that 32-inch and 43-inch prices will remain stable, while 50-inch and 55-inch models will see a $1 increase, and 65-inch and 75-inch models will see a $3 increase. Compared to the previous months, price increases are expected to show significant convergence.

On the monitor panel front, demand in the commercial sector continues to be weak, and brand customers in the consumer sector are gradually reducing their procurement needs. Furthermore, they are adopting a more conservative outlook for fourth-quarter demand, resulting in a shrinking price increase potential. While there is still some room for minor upward adjustments in prices for certain lower-priced models, overall, the trend of continuous price increases witnessed in recent months is expected to cease. It is currently anticipated that monitor panel prices in September will remain stable across the board.

Turning our attention to notebook panels, overall demand has reached its peak. However, panel manufacturers remain proactive in pushing for higher panel prices. When it comes to specifications, demand for lower-tier TN models is still relatively stronger compared to mid to high-tier IPS models. Consequently, there is a possibility of TN panel prices maintaining their previous months’ upward trend, while IPS panels also have a chance of seeing price increases in September due to the active efforts of panel manufacturers. It is currently projected that lower-tier TN models may see a $0.2 increase in September, while mid to high-tier IPS models may see a $0.1 increase.


75-inch TV Panels Surge, Laptop and Monitor Prices Stable to Slightly Up in Late August

August Sees TV Demand Fluctuations

Entering August, the TV brand demands echo with noise. Despite 7% Q3 growth, a noticeable dip from last month’s projections appears. Yet, panel makers hold steady, adjusting production and raising TV panel prices due to unclear trends for larger sizes. Expect strong TV panel prices in August, up by USD 2~8. Notably, 75-inch panels could surge around USD 8.

Monitor Panels in August: Steady Outlook

In August, as consumer model demands saturate and commercial model needs to stay low, brands approach price hikes cautiously. Despite this, panel manufacturers aim to increase prices. Expect minor upticks in monitor panel prices for August. Open Cell panels could see a convergence of price increases, around USD 0.1. Projections include USD 0.1 hikes for 21.5-inch, 23.8-inch, and 27-inch panels.

Laptop Panel in August: Cautious Price Adjustments

Looking at August laptop panel prices, constrained growth in Q3 demand from top-tier brands leads to a cautious stance on broad price increases. Most brands accept minor adjustments for low-end HD TN models. Meanwhile, specific manufacturers slightly raise prices for mid-to-high-end FHD IPS models to select customers, while mainstream prices remain restrained. Anticipate a USD 0.1 uptick for HD TN models and stable prices for FHD IPS models in August.

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