updated 07:55 am EDT, Wed May 26, 2010
Samsung couldn't keep up with Apple display needs
Apple had considered an AMOLED display for the iPhone but rejected it due to a mix of supply and technology problems, insiders claimed Wednesday. The American company had talked to Samsung Mobile Display but found that its AMOLED production capacity was well below what it would need. Even if Samsung devoted its entire AMOLED production to the iPhone, it could only handle 50 to 60 percent of all the orders, the sources said.
AMOLED displays are increasingly common on Samsung's own phones as well as those from HTC, but both companies have much smaller portions of the smartphone market. Samsung uses the organic displays in some of its feature phones, but only in smaller numbers.
The displays themselves also wouldn't be practical for Apple's goals, according to Digitimes Research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. AMOLED screens in a mobile size can cost $34 to $38 to make where an IPS (in-plane switching) panel like the rumored 960x640 iPhone example would cost $20. A low-accuracy TN (twisted nematic) panel like most mobile displays costs $10.
Also, Samsung is believed to still be using Nouvoyance's PenTile technique to develop its AMOLED screens, which may be considered a negative for Apple. As seen in HTC's Nexus One, Desire and Droid Incredible, the matrix display approach has fewer sub-pixels than usual and creates a "dotted" effect that could be harder to read than either a more accurate AMOLED or an LCD.
Kuo also claims to know that the CDMA iPhone is real, but further behind in development than expected. It's currently in the relatively early Engineering Verification Test (EVT) stage and would still have to go through the Design Verification Test (DVT) and Process Verification Test (PVT) stages before it was ready for production. While the analyst wouldn't rule out production in the August or September timeframes rumored earlier, he thought 2011 was more likely.
The lost iPhone prototype in the Bay Area, and possibly some or all of the Vietnamese leaks, were DVT-stage GSM models.