Samsung Display has apparently only been producing 15,000 OLED panels per month for the last year for Apple. And the iPhone 8, which is probably going to garner hundreds of thousands of pre-orders in the seconds that the sales process begins, needs OLED screens. ETnews is reporting that the Korean manufacturer has put seven OLED production lines to full output from this month, bringing the production rate up to 105,000 displays a month.
It’s taken the chaebol since 2015 to up its capacity to beyond its own needs from 30,000 panels a month to 45,000 per month by 2016 to the current 105,000 cap — all of that increase was dedicated to Apple. Samsung’s other external customers, mostly Chinese firms, have been given production lines that can box up to 300,000 panels a month. Part of that gap has to do with Apple’s rigid specifications for its displays, the tuning required for the machinery and the pure time and space investment at the factory needed for the process.
Further expansions at Samsung’s facilities in Vietnam and Korea are expected late this year as more customers pile in.
Analysts believe that with Apple spec applied, only 60 percent of any particular lot will make yield. At the maximum rate, it’s possible that 79 million iPhone 8 displays can be made through a year’s time. That will have to reconcile with high street expectations for the iPhone 8 to make up at least half the sales of all iPhone models in the next fiscal year — that total has stood at around 200 million in recent years.