The iPhone X is going to be the next phone to beat, and everybody knows that. But unlike other smartphone makers who are likely shaking in their boots at the thought of the iPhone X hitting store shelves in November, Samsung is in an entirely different position.
Yes, Samsung would like its phones to become as popular as the iPhone. But at the same time, Samsung is one of the iPhone X’s most passionate supporters.
The reason is pretty simple. Just like Apple, Samsung loves to make money. And just like Apple, the more iPhone X units that sell, the more money the company will make.
Samsung is likely to earn $4 billion more in revenue from iPhone X parts than from Galaxy S8 components in the 20 months following the new iPhone X’s release, The Wall Street Journal reports. The estimate comes from Counterpoint Technology Market Research, which expects Apple to sell 130 million iPhone X units through the summer of 2019. Samsung will make an estimated $110 on each iPhone X sale — that’s a total of more than $14 billion for the South Korean parts maker.
The iPhone X total is less than the $202 in parts it gets from each Galaxy S8 sale, but Samsung is only expected to sell 50 million Galaxy S8 units globally in its first 20 months of sales.
Samsung provides screens and memory chips for the iPhone X. In fact, it’s the only maker of OLED displays that go inside the iPhone X, and it’s also the only supplier that can manufacture enough displays that meet Apple’s needs. Apple is looking to secure OLED supply from other companies, including LG, in the coming years. But until then, Samsung is in a unique position of being the only supplier of a component Apple desperately needs.
Samsung is very much aware of the importance of winning Apple contracts. The Journal says that Samsung sees Apple as “our best client,” even though it’s also a direct competitor.
Samsung employees often refer to Apple with code names. One of the most popular is “LO,” short for “Lovely Opponent,” people familiar with the matter said. Apple’s descriptor for Samsung, meanwhile, is Samsung, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Employees at the iPhone maker are often critical of its rival’s devices, pointing out software and hardware flaws behind closed doors.
Apple might not like being so dependent on Samsung, but it has no other option for the time being.