Apple has been reported to be getting closer to signing on the company’s first-ever order for OLED iPhone screens with a Chinese company, BOE. Apple has been dependent on Samsung for the high level and high-quality OLED panels used in the iPhone X family of phones, a situation Apple has been working hard to change.
The Background as highlighted by 9to5Mac states that
Samsung has enjoyed a significant technological lead in advanced flexible OLED panels, and was the only company able to meet Apple’s requirements for the iPhone X/XS in terms of both quality and volume production. Neither US nor Japanese companies have so far been able to meet Apple’s exacting needs.
This has apparently left Apple in a way ‘forced to place all its orders’ with the company, an alternative for compensation, a situation that Apple has normally tried to avoid for reasons of both risks as well as negotiating power. Honestly, the power balance has got hampered in hard fashion in Samsung’s favor where Apple has reportedly ended up owing Samsung more than $170 million in a fine of a lawsuit charged for failing to hit promised order levels.
Apple has managed to bring another Korean company, LG, online for this year’s iPhones, in part by fronting $2.7 billion to enable the company to create production lines specifically for Apple orders. Other companies are vying for Apple’s business, including Japan Display and China’s BOE.
It was reported in June that Apple was ‘considering’ adding Chinese display maker BOE to its supplier list for OLED screens for iPhones. These plans seem to be progressing reasonably well, with the Nikkei Asian Review today reporting that Apple is close to signing off on BOE orders. Apple is in the final stages of certifying advanced screens from China’s top display maker BOE Technology Group for iPhones next year, as the U.S. tech giant attempts to cut costs and reduce its reliance on South Korea’s Samsung Electronics.
Apple is currently testing BOE’s flexible OLED displays from the Chinese company’s facility in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China’s first site to produce such advanced displays, two sources told the Nikkei. BOE is also building another facility in Sichuan province, which would be allocated to Apple if it places orders, the people said.
“It does appear, however, that Apple is proceeding cautiously. Apple will decide by the end of this year whether to take BOE on as a supplier of its single most expensive component,”
they said. Two sources who bear the knowledge of the situation informed BOE has a high probability .to supply the new iPhones next year if it wins certification of approval. But it might first be asked to offer displays for repair purposes, as well as panels for older models of iPhones, one of the trusted sources have suggested.
We are expecting two of this year’s three new iPhones to have OLED screens, the update channel to the iPhone XS and XS Max. The third model can be expected to continue the iPhone XR tradition of aligning to a cheaper model of an LCD screen.