Apple has depended on Samsung to supply its displays for far longer than the company would like, but a new report from The Wall Street Journal reveals the difficulty of that separation. According to the report, LG Display, which Apple recently tapped to work on OLED screen for at least one 2018 iPhone model, is struggling to build enough displays for the next iPhone.
Due to manufacturing problems, LG Display has reportedly fallen behind schedule as Apple preps for 2018’s iPhone launch. OLED screens, which are thinner and more flexible than LCD displays, are more difficult to produce, and now Apple is apparently having second thoughts about using LG as a supplier this year.
One source said that “opinions are divided” over LG Display becoming the second source of OLED displays for Apple’s upcoming new iPhones. If Apple opts to give up on LG, it will mean that Samsung, Apple’s biggest rival, will be the sole provider of OLED iPhone displays.
As popular and critically successful as the iPhone X has been, its OLED display is one of the main reasons that its price is so steep. Tokyo-based consultancy Fomalhaut Techno Solutions claims that Samsung’s OLED display likely accounts for $97 of the $376 that it costs to build an iPhone X, which pushes the price up for consumers. Without a second supplier, Apple has no room to negotiate over the price of the OLED displays.
Sources tell The Wall Street Journal that Apple is prepping three iPhones for the fall: a 6.5-inch phone with an OLED display, a 5.8-inch phone with an OLED display, and a 6.1-inch phone with an LCD display. In order to produce the 100 million iPhones that Apple is reportedly looking to build this year, a second supplier of OLED displays would be a huge asset, but despite being a leader in the TV OLED panel market, LG might not be ready.