It looks like Apple and Samsung will continue to be uneasy partners for the next few years in order for the former to get a steady supply of OLED panels. Two separate reports have highlighted its urgent need to break away from its dependence on the latter.
To recap, the upcoming iPhone 8/X/Edition uses a Samsung-made OLED screen. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently issued a note to investors stating that Apple is in urgent need of finding a second source of the panels. The South Korean brand has strong bargaining power as a result of its monopoly, allegedly charging between $120 and $130 per unit.
In contrast, Apple pays around $45 to $55 for each iPhone 7 Plus LCD screen. This huge difference may explain why the next iPhone is expected to be the company’s most expensive yet. Unfortunately, this state of affairs probably won’t end until 2019 when LG steps up its OLED production.
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People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that LG Display will manage to output only a small number of shipments towards the end of 2018. It’s possible a small number of next year’s iPhones will be the first LG-made models, but this can’t be taken as certain yet.
LG is at a disadvantage to Samsung in terms of evaporation machines since the latter has managed to book years worth of units from supplier Canon Tokki. Plus, it’s focused on OLED TVs instead of phones for the past few years, so it needs to play catch-up to its rival.