While Apple depended on Samsung as its sole supplier of OLED displays in 2017, a report from The Korea Times suggests that another supplier will join the ranks for Apple’s next round of premium iPhones. According to the report, sources claim that Apple is considering using LG Display as a “second supplier” for advanced organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels that will be featured in at least one of its new smartphones this fall.
The sources believe that tapping LG Display as an alternative supplier will allow Apple to procure OLED displays faster while simultaneously cutting costs. As Samsung has been the only supplier of OLED displays for the past year, it has allowed the South Korean rival to charge higher prices for the display it produces. This news is obviously terrible for Samsung, but it’s great for end users who can expect a more abundant supply of new iPhones this year at lower prices; the 5.8-inch model is expected to drop by $100 while the new larger 6.5-inch OLED iPhone is seen occupying the iPhone X’s current price points.
“Initially, Apple will get between 3 million and 5 million OLED displays from LG Display,” an industry source told the website. “LG plans to increase its production capacity. Apple is attempting to release new iPhones with enhanced features next year and it is eyeing developing foldable iPhones, which will come several years later.”
The source says that the deal is worth “millions of dollars,” but that the key concern on Apple’s end is whether or not LG’s production capacity can keep up with Apple’s demand compared to Samsung Display’s. The source also notes that the display LG has produced for the V30 doesn’t stack up well against the latest Galaxy phones.
Apple’s initial deal with Samsung was for 110 million OLED displays, just to clarify the difference between these two deals. That said, 3-5 million displays is more than a Bloomberg report from late last month suggested. It’s not yet a done deal, but LG is reportedly “frantically” trying to up its capacity to meet Apple’s demands.