Will Apple Be Producing An OLED TV?

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) much-publicized rivalry with Samsung continues. In the latest chapter, supplier LG Display (NYSE:LPL) has just announced plans to invest more than $650 million in organic light-emitting diode technology to build thinner, more energy-efficient television displays. Such a production line would have the capacity to process 26,000 motherglass sheets a month, and six 55-inch screens per sheet, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Seoul-based LG Display is currently the largest flat screen maker, with high-profile clients like Apple and LG Electronics. The company has reportedly received the most orders for Apple’s iPad mini, fourth-generation iPad and MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Samsung first revealed their OLED plans at CES 2012, and they plan to release their own versions later this year. Sharper images, vivid colors, higher contrast and ultra-thin screens are just a few of the improvements of OLED technology over traditional liquid crystal displays, light-emitting diodes and plasmas. This type of display does not require LED backlighting and is also more energy-efficient, with better battery life…

But don’t be expecting OLEDs to be impacting Apple’s bottom line anytime soon. According to analysts, difficulties manufacturing them compounded by low production yields are likely to keep this new technology out of the mainstream for a while yet. LG’s recently launched entry-level 55-inch OLED TV, for example, will set consumers back $12,000, and OLED pioneer Sony (NYSE:SNE) also has yet to successfully commercialize them.

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“In addition to technical and large-volume manufacturing challenges, OLED TVs also already face an uphill task of competing on prices with lower-priced, higher-resolution 4K LCD and even full-HD LCD TVs,” explains research firm IHS iSuppli in a recent research note.

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