The Korea Herald


Apple, Samsung in talks over displays for iPad 3

By 양승진

Published : May 25, 2011 - 17:16

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Samsung's Galaxy S 2 smartphones (Yonhap News) Samsung's Galaxy S 2 smartphones (Yonhap News)

Apple COO Tim Cook visited Korea to discuss bilateral cooperation

Apple Inc.’s chief operating officer Tim Cook discussed adopting Samsung’s AMOLED display technology for tablet PCs during his recent visit to South Korea, industry sources said.

“Apple wants to tap into Samsung’s AMOLED technology for an upgraded version of the iPad 2, considered as many by the iPad 3 that is likely to be launched toward the end of this year,” a source told The Korea Herald on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

Tim Cook is not only the COO, but also acting CEO of Apple. During Cook’s trip last week, Apple seems to have offered Samsung an advance for the AMOLED displays, the source said.

The California-based company currently uses liquid crystal displays in its iPad lineup, including the iPad 2 it launched in March this year.

Samsung does not yet use AMOLED displays for its tablet PC, the Galaxy Tab, but its Galaxy S 2 smartphones are fitted with the super-AMOLED display. The local firm is now said to be mulling over using the display for its second generation of tablet PCs.

A Samsung Mobile Display spokesperson said he had not heard of such discussions with Apple.

Reports of Apple’s offer come despite a legal spat between the world’s two most powerful electronics companies over patent infringements.

Previously, there had been contradictory assessments over whether AMOLED technology is compatible with tablet PCs, but AMOLED displays have improved to the point where they are now considered to have significant advantage over LCDs.

Super AMOLED displays, for instance, tout brighter screens, less sunlight reflection and reduced power consumption.

Apple’s shift to AMOLED spells much trouble for LG Display, one of Apple’s main suppliers for LCDs and Samsung’s main rivals.

LG Display, a top global manufacturer of liquid crystal displays, supplies Apple with the iPad displays.

Speculation has it that the company may try to hold Apple’s attention by adding a new display assembly line at its Gumi plant in order to meet the growing demand for the iPad 2.

LG Display churns out flat panels from its Gumi plant, mostly to be fitted into PC monitors or tablet PCs.

For LG -- which is not authorized to confirm that it supplies to Apple -- the demand from Apple is a double-edged sword.

A partnership with Apple indicates LG holds its own in the display industry.

On the other hand, industry watchers note that LG Display is not making a lot of monetary gain out of the deal as Apple is known for its low-price policies.

“Look at the price of those tablet PCs and those smartphones. Only Apply can go down that low, and that’s because it squeezes its partners and suppliers to also get down as low as they can,” said one executive at a local company who declined to be identified.

The price tag for the iPad 2 starts at $499 for the wi-fi only model.

LG Display incurred a second-straight quarter operating loss during the January-March period this year.

Quarterly sales stood at 5.3 trillion won, down 17 percent from the previous fourth quarter, and 9 percent lower from the same period last year.

Adding to its profit and Apple woes, overseas buyers such as Hewlett Packard and Dell have reportedly recently cancelled display shipments from LG Display.

LG Display now has its hopes pinned on the rising popularity of 3-D TVs -- which have been receiving better reviews than Samsung’s 3-D TVs due to the price competitiveness and easy-to-use eyewear -- to help it bounce back.

Another positive bit of news is the rising price of liquid crystal display panels. The prices rose for the first time in 20 months earlier this month, industry data showed.

The price of 40- to 42-inch LCD panels for TVs stood at $235 in early May, up $3 from late last month, according to market research firm DisplaySearch.

By Kim Ji-hyun (

<한글 기사>

애플 팀쿡 방한의 진짜 목적은?

애플, 삼성에 아이패드3용 아몰레드 도입 타진 

애플의 최고운영책임자인 팀쿡이 최근 한국 방문에서 삼성의 아몰레드 (AMOLED) 디스플레이 기술을 아이패드3에 적용하기 위해 삼성 측과 협의를 벌인 것으로 알려졌다.

“애플은 삼성의 아몰레드 기술을 일명 아이패드 3라고 불리는 아이패드 2의 업그레이드 버전에 적용시키고자 하는 것으로 알고 있다,”고 한 업계 관계자가 코리아 헤럴드에 전했다.

팀쿡은 또한 삼성측에 선수금도 제의한 것 같다고 이 관계자는 덧붙였다.

애플은 현재 올해 3월에 출시된 아이패드 2를 포함한 모든 태블릿 PC에 LCD 디스플레이를 사용하고 있다.

삼성의 태블릿 PC인 갤럭시 탭은 아몰레드 화면이 아니지만, 갤랙시 S 2 스마트폰은 아몰레드를 사용 중이다. 이 때문에 갤럭시 탭의 후속 모델에는 아몰레드 디스플레이를 고려중인 것으로 알려져 있다.

삼성 측은 쿡의 방문에 대해 아는 바가 없다고 밝혔으며 애플 코리아는 논평을 거부했다.

실제 아몰레드 디스플레이가 태블릿 PC에 적합한지를 놓고는 논란이 많았다. 하지만 최근에는 거듭된 기술발전으로 인해 LCD보다 높이 평가되고 있는 분위기다.

슈퍼 아몰레드의 경우 색구현력과 화면밝기는 물론, 전력소모량도 LCD보다 적기 때문이다. 

애플이 아몰레드로 옮겨 탈 경우 당장 LG 디스플레이는 큰 난관에 봉착하게 될 것이라고 업계 관계자들은 전했다. 

LG는 현재 애플 LCD의 주요 공급원이자 삼성의 최대 패널 라이벌이다.

업계 관계자들에 따르면 애플과의 관계를 유지하기 위해 LG는 구미 공장에 LCD라인을 증설도 고려할 수 있다고 전했다. 

LG는 지금까지 애플에 공급한다는 상징적인 의미 때문에 단가에 대한 끊임없는 압박으로 인해 수익성과 무관하게 패널을 공급해왔다. 

실제로 LG Display는 지난 1분기에 2분기 연속 영업적자를 기록했다. 

더 큰 문제는 HP와 델 측에서 LG 디스플레이의 5월분 주문량을 취소했다는 소식이다.

LG 디스플레이로서는 현재 저가에다 안경이 편한 3D TV에 모든 희망을 걸 수 밖에 없는 실정이다.