ETNews Reports LG to Supply OLED Displays for Apple’s iPhone in 2018, but …
January 08, 2018
The Korean technology press changed their mind regarding LG Display’s ability to OLED displays for Apple’s iPhone in 2018. ETNews stated that LG Display ‘temporarily confirmed’ that it will be supplying Apple with flexible OLED displays for their new iPhone that is expected to be released in Sept. 2018. 15m to 16m units have been quoted and a size of 6.5” for the panel has also been rumored, but negotiations are said to be ongoing. While LG Display has been involved in producing small panel flexible OLED displays its own smartphones and for the Google Pixel 2 XL, they will be bringing a new 6th Gen fab to MP in June ’18 that will likely take a bit of time to both get into full production and bring yields up to acceptable levels. It is doubtful that Apple would risk using a small volume of OLED flexible (estimated to be ~15m) from a 2nd OLED supplier, in a major rollout of its second iPhone with an OLED display. Moreover, LG’s smartphone displays have not yet reached the performance and quality of the Samsung version. Better to look for Apple to use LG’s displays in 2019 ETNews also said that Samsung Display is expected to supply Apple with 180m to 200m small panel OLED displays in 2018 no other suppliers are able to meet both Apple’s high volumes and technical specifications. Apple would like to broaden their display supply chain, but at the moment must rely on Samsung for its immediate production. Other small panel OLED producers are wooing Apple with demos, samples, and promises of high volume availability, but in 2017 Samsung Display’s share of the small panel flexible OLED display market was still in the >98% range on a unit volume basis, and despite the constant press releases extolling the virtues of small panel flexible OLED displays from other vendors, we expect only a modest change of unit share in 2018. Apple is inherently a demanding customer, as they usually push the limits of at least one technology with every new model year, which gives Samsung Display a considerable leg up in staying on Apple’s good side toward technology changes on the display front, while others are trying to gain production expertise and yield, before they have to deal with Apple’s exacting specifications.