LG Display is likely to deliver between 2 million and 4 million OLED panels to Apple for future iPhones. The move would end Samsung’s monopoly here and could help to accelerate broader adoption of OLED screens, according to Jerry Kang from IHS Markit.
Speaking to the South China Morning Post, the senior principal analyst noted:
Securing a second supplier for OLED screens is crucial for Apple as it will allow the company to reduce its reliance on Samsung, which is currently the sole supplier. At the same time, it will help accelerate a broad adoption of OLED screens. More suppliers means more volume, and in turn, lower pricing.
Assuming the numbers above are correct, this would still only represent a tiny portion of OLED panels being supplied to Apple for its No. 1 product. Of note, back in December, it was reported that Apple would quadruple its OLED panel orders from Samsung to between 180 million and 200 million.
Though LG’s initial OLED orders from Apple will be small, they should grow considerably over time.
Last July, the company was in talks with LG to invest anywhere between $1.75 billion and $2.62 billion into the South Korean firm’s new “E6” plant with a monthly target capacity of about 30,000 units of sixth-generation OLED panels.
According to The Korea Herald newspaper at the time, the upcoming facility would be “exclusively dedicated to Apple orders” and should come online as early as 2019.
Apple’s expected to announce at least two new OLED iPhones this fall, maybe three. Besides a second-generation iPhone X and all-new 6.5-inch “iPhone X Plus,” the company could use OLED on a lower cost 6.1-inch iPhone 8 successor. It could also choose to stick with LCD for the model.
Regardless, we should know soon enough. The company is likely to hold a Fall event in early September where it will announce new iOS devices alongside an all-new Apple Watch and new Macs.