What happened

Shares of OLED specialist Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED) soared by 26.9% in May, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

So what

The bulk of those gains are directly attributable to a strong first-quarter earnings release, as shares gained 24% on the day after the report and have been mostly range-bound since.

Bottles of OLED emitter materials.

Emitter sales helped drive first-quarter results. Image source: Universal Display.

Revenue in the first quarter soared by 87%, to $55.6 million, driven by strong emitter sales. Net income skyrocketed to $10.4 million, or $0.22 per share. Universal Display said that momentum in the OLED industry continues to accelerate, as display makers continue to invest in ramping up OLED manufacturing capacity and developing new types of OLED-based products. Growth is on track to surpass prior expectations, and the company boosted its full-year 2017 guidance as a result.

Now what

Universal Display now expects 2017 revenue to be in the range of $260 million to $280 million, up from the prior outlook of $230 million to $250 million in sales. The most important potential catalyst for Universal Display on the horizon, by far, is the prospect that Apple formally unveils an OLED iPhone.

Expectations that Apple will finally adopt the technology in its flagship smartphone have driven investor optimism over the past year, thanks to a constant drip of rumors that the Mac maker is ready to make the switch. There were a few vague possible clues in the call earlier this month.

With the iPhone introduction just a few months away, Universal Display could continue riding the momentum until then.

Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of AAPL and Universal Display. Evan Niu, CFA has the following options: long January 2018 $50 calls on Universal Display. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AAPL and Universal Display. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.