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LG Display poised for a positive shift in fortunes, driven by Apple’s OLED iPad

ANN/THE KOREA HERALD – LG Display is anticipated to achieve profitability ahead of schedule next year by providing organic light-emitting displays for the upcoming iPad Pro from Apple.

These panels are projected to be three times more costly than those used in the iPhone. Industry insiders revealed on Sunday that the Korean panel manufacturer will commence OLED production for the upcoming iPad Pro in February of the following year at its facility in Paju, Gyeonggi Province.

The timeline is approximately three months earlier than initially estimated, with Apple expected to unveil the new product lineup in the second quarter of the upcoming year.

Apple is targeting a total of 10 million OLED iPad panels next year. LG Display is expected to supply 60 per cent of the supply, while Samsung Display is responsible for producing the rest.

Omdia, a market tracker, said LG may be supplying the panels for 11-inch and 12.9-inch models, while Samsung provides for the 11-inch model only.

The price of the bigger OLED panels for iPads are three times higher than those of iPhones. Even if the number of orders for iPads may be smaller than that for iPhones, the new supply deal will affect LG Display’s profitability positively, market watchers say.

Market intelligence firm FnGuide predicts LG Display’s annual sales will record about KRW21.03 trillion (USD15.9 billion), with an operating loss of KRW2.56 trillion this year. With the new OLED orders for iPads, the display maker is forecast to see a turnaround next year, posting an estimated KRW109.4 billion in operating profits. By 2025, its operating profits are expected to surge to KRW659.6 billion.

“Apple’s turn to OLED panels for its iPads would have a big impact on the industry, creating a whole new market that is similar to the iPhone in size,” said Namgung Hyon, a researcher at Shinhan Securities.

The two Korean display makers are reportedly wrapping up their price negotiations with Apple on OLED supplies.

It marks the first time that Apple is adopting OLED panels for its tablet lineup, ditching liquid crystal displays. Additionally, the global tech giant is reportedly reviewing adopting OLED screens for all its iPad models, including the iPad mini and iPad Air lineups, from 2026 onward.

Next year, Apple is expected to introduce big changes to its iPad lineup, including a slightly larger 13-inch model, a new aluminum Magic Keyboard and the M3 chipset.

According to Seoul-based market tracker UBI Research, OLED shipments for tablets, laptops and monitors will grow 41 percent annually to 31 million units by 2027.

Apple iPad Pro 6. PHOTO: APPLE