It’s all but confirmed now: the next-generation iPhones launching next year will all adopt OLED displays and LG will join Samsung in supplying the panels for all 3 models.
Well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities says LG will become a major OLED screen supplier for Apple next year, explaining that Cupertino has experienced major issues due to the limited supply of such panels and the company sees a contract with LG as the only way to prevent similar problems in the future.
At this point, Samsung is the sole OLED screen manufacturer for Apple, and the iPhone 8 due in the fall will come with displays made by the South Korean firm, but there are reports that some delays are very likely because of the limited supply.
Kuo explains that Apple is committed to working with LG Display, and one of the reasons is that the company can work with a wider array of suppliers that could help boost manufacturing should it be needed.
“Samsung is now Apple’s sole iPhone OLED panel supplier across front- and back-end manufacturing. We think LGD could institute a similar production model. However, considering its strengths are in front-end process, collaborating with a specialized back- end process provider like GIS will, in our view, significantly boost iPhone OLED panel output rate,” the analyst has been quoted as saying.
LG, which was said to be building a new production facility dedicated exclusively to OLED displays for iPhones, received Apple funding to set up production lines for the start of operations in early 2018, earlier reports said.
The analyst claims that LG is also working with a series of other partners to improve OLED displays, including with GIS for improved lamination, but also with Foxconn for manufacturing.
Without a doubt, reducing reliance on Samsung is one of the priorities for Apple for future-generation iPhones, despite the fact that the company actually signed deals with the South Korea for OLED panels for at least 2 more years. It remains to be seen, however, what happens when the contract with Samsung runs out.