Samsung turned in a huge holiday quarter last year despite the Galaxy Note 7 debacle that cost the company billions in lost sales and cleanup expenses. The South Korean consumer electronics giant then followed up that fantastic performance with an even bigger first quarter, and unaudited results suggest the second quarter was Samsung’s most profitable quarter ever.
Sure, strong sales of smartphones like the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ have helped. But the real story here is Samsung’s strength across its various component businesses. Sales of memory chips, processors, display panels, and other key components have been soaring lately, and Apple’s iPhone 8 will play a huge role in pushing Samsung’s earnings to new heights. As has been the case with various Apple partners in the past, however, this gravy train won’t last forever, and Apple is reportedly working on a major change for future iPhones that could lead to tens of billions in lost sales for its top rival, Samsung.
According to a report on Monday morning from Korean-language ET News (via Digitimes), Apple is already taking steps toward an OLED future where the company would be far less reliant on Samsung. Well-sourced rumors suggest Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 will be the company’s first smartphone to feature an OLED display, and Samsung will reportedly be the company’s sole OLED panel supplier. Earlier reports have suggested that no other supplier is able to meet Apple’s needs in terms of production volume.
But Apple is never satisfied with just one supplier, and that rings especially true when that supplier also just so happens to be its arch rival. Apropos, ET News reports that Apple is already taking steps to decrease its dependency on Samsung, and perhaps someday even move away from Samsung entirely as a display panel supplier.
Apple has reportedly purchased its own chemical vapor deposition (CVD) machines from a South Korean company called Sunic System, machines that are key to research and development surrounding OLED display panels. The report states that Apple is intent on developing its own OLED display technology so that it can move away from Samsung as its sole OLED supplier. The company likely has no interest in manufacturing its own panels, but Apple has in the past purchased or leased equipment and worked closely with manufacturing partners in order to perfect components for its devices. Apple’s A series chipsets are a perfect example.
It’s unclear exactly what Apple’s plans are or how its own OLED tech might differ from Samsung, which is currently the clear leader in OLED smartphone display technology.