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Apple figured out how to make the iPhone 16 Pro’s bezels ultra-thin

Published May 28th, 2024 11:02AM EDT
iPhone 15 Pro Max Screen
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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As someone looking to upgrade to the iPhone 16 this fall, I’m not worried about production issues or launch delays. This isn’t Apple’s first rodeo, and there’s no life-threatening emergency like the pandemic that could mess with the regular iPhone production schedule.

However, in early April, we saw reports that Apple’s smartphone display vendors were struggling to meet Apple’s demands for the iPhone 16. Specifically, Apple wants the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max to feature even thinner bezels than their predecessors. The design posed manufacturing issues for Samsung and LG, the kind that could impact iPhone production.

I think the race to the thinnest possible bezels is getting out of hand, but I get why smartphone vendors are doing it and why Apple needs the iPhone 16 Pros to feature even smaller bezels. I said at the time I’d hate bezel size to become an issue that slows iPhone production, but it looks like I no longer need to worry.

Samsung and LG have reportedly received approval to mass-produce the OLED panels for the iPhone 16 Pro models. Apple is also expected to approve OLED screens for the iPhone 16 Pro Max in the coming weeks.

Apple will unveil the iPhone 16 series in early September and release the phones in stores a couple of weeks later. That means iPhone 16 production will start sometime this summer, and suppliers will have to ship the new iPhone parts to assemblers like Foxconn by then. That way, Apple’s partners have plenty of time to build the tens of millions of iPhone models that need to be stocked before the phone is released.

Korean outlet The Elec, which previously reported on Samsung and LG’s production struggles, now says that Apple has approved mass-production of the iPhone 16 Pro panels at both suppliers. Next, Samsung should also receive the go-ahead for the iPhone 16 Pro Max OLED panels by the end of May, with LG following in June.

This is a big win for iPhone buyers looking to score one of the Pro models this fall. The iPhone Pros tend to sell out long before the regular models. Any production issues would impact the initial batch, as Apple would have fewer units on hand for early buyers.

But, as the report notes, it’s also a big win for LG, which has been closing the gap with Samsung in recent years. Last year, LG was approved to mass-produce the iPhone 15 Pro OLED panels several months later than Samsung. This made Samsung the big winner of early iPhone 15 Pro panel orders.

Samsung has been the only provider of OLED screens for the iPhone for years. As much as Samsung likes to bash the iPhone, Apple is one of its biggest clients. The Elec notes that iPhone OLED panels account for over 70% of Samsung’s Display’s operating profit. Samsung aimed to manufacture over 155 million OLED panels for the iPhone this year. More recently, the estimate dropped to 130 million screens.

That’s likely because of the increased competition, something Apple has encouraged over the years. LG and BOE are often cited as suppliers of OLED panels for the iPhone. Samsung will manufacture screens for all four iPhone 16 options. LG will only make the OLED panels for the Pro models, while BOE will supply displays for the non-Pro variants.

The report does not mention the Border Reduction Structure tech coming to the iPhone 16 Pros this year. That innovation might have impacted product yields in previous months. If Apple is approving production plans for the iPhone 16 Pros, it must mean both Samsung and LG have achieved satisfactory yields and thus fixed manufacturing issues.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.