Samsung’s display-making arm is set to supply up to eighty million smartphone panels for iPhone 8 in 2017, which will be based on active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) technology, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported last week.
On top of that, Samsung will build an additional 80 million AMOLED panels in 2017, but they’ll be used to supply orders from Samsung Electronics and its other smartphone clients.
As per sources, Samsung is expected to “keep some flexibility” if Apple places more orders.
The report claims that component makers have now kicked off mass production of parts for both the AMOLED-based iPhone 8 models and the iterative LCD-based updates in the form of iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, the latter two featuring a reinforced glass chassis with a shiny metal frame holding together the “glass sandwich” design.
As indicated by the current manufacturing status of the upstream supply chain, iPhone 8 won’t enter mass production until after mid-September, with production volumes in the third quarter pegged at around three million units, meaning Apple will likely be unable to keep up with iPhone 8 demand for a few weeks or even months.
Switching the next iPhone from LCD panels to AMOLEDs is a sea change for Apple’s supply chain given the tens of millions of iPhones the Cupertino company sells each quarter. Other suppliers, like Japan Display, Sharp and LG Display are pouring big money into AMOLED production plants, but they’re not expected to join Apple’s AMOLED supply chain before 2018.
Combined shipments of existing iPhones, including iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE and the 32GB iPhone 6 are estimated to reach a total of 25-30 million units during the second half of 2017, bringing Apple’s overall iPhone shipments in the third quarter to around 45-50 million units.