Three Reasons Why iPad 3 won’t have OLED Display

Submitted by lalit on May 30, 2011 - 5:21pm.

Last week, The Korea Herald reported that Apple wants to tap into Samsung’s AMOLED displays for iPad 3 and the company has offered Samsung an advance for the displays. However, we think this news is completely bogus. There are hardly any reasons that will tempt Apple to switch to AMOLED screen, but there are three very compelling reasons for Apple to continue using IPS LCD screen:

Availability: Samsung has announced plans to produce 7-inch AMOLED panels for tablets in 2012, but they have no plans for manufacturing 9-inch or 10-inch AMOLED screens till 2013. And as we all know, Apple has clearly stated that they don’t consider 7-inch screen ideal for tablets. Also, Samsung’s AMOLED production capacity will not be able to meet even smartphone display demands till 2012. Samsung plans to start a second fab line to double AMOLED production capacity in 2012 to meet this rising smartphone display demand. As iSuppli points out in their report “Given the current strong demand for smartphones, it is unlikely that volume production of tablet panels (AMOLED) will start before 2013.”

Price: Yes there won’t be any 10-inch AMOLED panels for tablet before 2013, but imagine that Apple has somehow managed to procure 10-inch AMOLED panels for iPad 3. So now the question is what will these AMOLED panels cost? Currently, producing an AMOLED panel larger than 4- or 5-inch increases the production cost exponentially. For example, a 4-inch AMOLED touchscreen costs around $35, but a 10-inch AMOLED touchscreen panel will cost more than 7 times that. Apple will have to pay about three times more to use AMOLED panel ($250) in place of current IPS LCD panel ($90).

Readability: When it comes to crispness of text, AMOLED is no match for IPS panels like Retina display on iPhone. Even the new Super AMOLED Plus display on Samsung Galaxy S II is way behind the Retina display when it comes to readability both indoors and outdoors. Also, the AMOLED screens are lagging behind in resolution, for example the 4.3-inch screen on Galaxy S II has low resolution (800 x 480) than the 3.5-inch iPhone screen (960 x 640). And, even though Samsung is the largest manufacturer of AMOLED screens they have developed a 10-inch high resolution LCD screen based on PenTile RGBW technology for their tablets, which offers higher pixel density and better brightness than AMOLED displays.

We can safely bet that we won’t see an iPad with OLED screen till at least fourth or fifth iPad revision. Having said that, when Apple finally switches to OLED screen they will have to make sure that the screens are available in large quantity, at the right price and with better specifications than LCD screens.