Apple will be making the orders next spring. One possible late bloomer believes it is inevitable that Cupertino will make the jump. Words about who it is working with to make the orders happen have been streaming like a river for the longest time now. And there are two clear contenders for who the company will turn to for providing the OLED display panels for next year’s iPhone.
Samsung and LG have been in a funds-pouring race to better their respective positions in Apple’s light. Insight from OLED industry officials through BusinessKorea say that the two companies will altogether invest US$11.4 billion in their OLED foundries.
Samsung, already the world’s largest provider of such displays by volume, will spend nearly $10 billion this year to improve its output rate and yields on its miniature (sub-tablet size) products. Realistically, Samsung will be the sole provider of iPhone 8 OLED panels as it is estimated to exponentially pedal up monthly shipments from 15,000 to 70,000 units. That’s good enough for 170 million screens and Apple would only need 100 million of them for iPhones in a given year. The challenge will come into seeing if a third size option will enter into the fray this year — a 5-inch iPhone in addition to options at 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches.
But don’t count out its major rival. LG is shelling out nearly $4 billion into its own facilities with half of its efforts devoted to flexible panels — crucial if rumors of a design for an all-facade iPhone display come true. Plastic OLED production is also getting a boost this year and again in 2018, when the chaebol expects it can fully take on an order from Apple.