Apple’s reliance on Samsung to supply OLED displays for iPhones may be easing up. The development is an important one for potentially reducing the cost to manufacture the premium priced iPhones.
Bloomberg reports that Apple is close to adding LG as a second OLED display supplier for iPhones:
Apple Inc. will soon land a second supplier for the organic light-emitting diode screens used in high-end iPhones, according to people familiar with the matter, a key step in the U.S. company’s push to reduce iPhone costs and its dependence on Samsung Electronics Co.
The report adds that LG will only be on the line for 2 to 4 million OLED screens to start — making it a relatively small supplier compared to Samsung — but adding a second supplier to the mix could give Apple leverage in negotiating costs with Samsung.
Bloomberg says the current plan is for LG to supply OLED displays for one of the new iPhone models being released later this fall. Apple is rumored to launch an updated 5.8-inch OLED model like the iPhone X and introduce a larger 6.5-inch OLED model. A third new model this fall is expected to feature a cheaper 6.1-inch LCD screen.
LG aims to be the sole supplier of OLED displays for one of the models of iPhones, according to the report, but the firm may not be able to produce enough screens to totally break Apple’s dependence on Samsung. Bloomberg says the first of two layers of approval for LG will take place in July. New iPhones are expected to hit stores in September.
Reporting earlier this year out of South Korea claimed Apple would tap LG as the sole supplier of the OLED display for the 6.5-inch iPhone — likely a pricier and possibly lower volume model — with Samsung holding on to 5.8-inch iPhone display orders.
Apple is said to have invested $2.7 billion in a production line for LG dedicated to OLED production for iPhones, while Sharp has also been considered an option for OLED supply.