2022 OLED iPad Air in doubt after Apple screwed down Samsung’s display panels

Apple has canceled a joint project with Samsung to use a Samsung-developed OLED display for an upcoming 10.9-inch iPad Air, according to a new report today from Elec.

OLED iPad Air

The project was halted due to either the single-stack structure in the OLED panel or profitability issues or both, said people familiar with the matter.

Single stack refers to the current widely used OLED panel structure, where red, green and blue form one emission layer.

Apple is reportedly not happy with the brightness level of single-stack OLED panels and is also wary of panel life, as consumers typically stick to iPads for longer than smartphones that have a more aggressive upgrade cycle.

Instead, Apple wants to use a two-stack tandem structure for its first OLED iPad, stacking two red, green and blue emission layers instead of just one. This doubles the brightness and extends the life of the panel by up to four times.

However, Samsung has only commercialized a single stack structure and is either unable or unwilling to deliver the two-stack technology, according to the report.

Profitability is also said to be a factor in Samsung’s unwillingness to deliver the technology. Unless Samsung can be sure that OLED ‌iPad Air‌ will be sold for a long time, it is not worth preparing for the back-end module process for the products.

Most rumors that we have heard of an OLED ‌‌iPad Air‌‌ suggest that it will come in 2022. But now that Samsung is not involved in development, Elec suggests that OLED ‌iPad Air‌ will not see the light of day until 2023. An earlier report by Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) claimed that Apple will release its first OLED ‌iPad‌ in 2023, although no reason was given for the changed production schedule.

Back in March, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple is expected to start using OLED next year, while DigiTimes has also predicted a release in 2022 for an OLED ‌iPad‌, just like sites like ETNews, which rely on supply chain data.

OLED technology is expensive, which is a factor that has so far limited it to smaller devices such as iPhones and Apple Watches. When used in ‌‌iPad‌‌, it will bring improved brightness, higher contrast, deeper blacks and wider viewing angles.


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