Apple has inked a contract with Samsung Display to provide 60 million OLED panels for iPhones in a deal worth about $4.35 billion. The Korea Herald reports that the lot adds on to an initial $7 billion order made last April for 100 million panels.
It is not clear how Apple is measuring demand for what’s rumored to be its OLED-equipped iPhone 8 — recent years have seen Apple sell about 200 million iPhones with more than 75 million sales in the holiday quarter.
The device is hinted to be one of three launched this year. With the “iPhone 7s” devices likely using LCD panels. it’s very clear that Apple is stockpiling flexible OLED displays for use through at least 2018, the earliest for when other manufacturers will be ready to make their OLED stock available.
Bloomberg is reporting that China’s BOE, which provided Xiaomi with a few AMOLED panels of its own for the Redmi Pro, is being evaluated by Infinite Loop. It could be the first Chinese display supplier in Apple’s iPhone parts portfolio. The company hopes to get two major AMOLED plants online — one by the summer, the other in a couple of years — to be able to produce up to 96,000 screens a month.
Here’s the thing, though: we’re not sure if Apple is prepared to go full bore on OLED iPhones by 2018 as there’s no word on if it has ordered multiple size screens — a clear sign that it would be able to take the technology to both standard and “Plus” sizes.
But we’re pretty certain that Apple is not betting on the iPhone 8 to take up 80 percent of this year’s demand — especially if it’s as expensive as it may be.