Apple’s 2020 and 2021 iPhone models will reportedly sport China-made OLED screens for the first time.
According to an RPRNA report, Korean analysts claim Beijing, China-based BOE Display negotiated successfully with Apple to supply OLED panels for iPhones. BOE will reportedly supply more panels than LG by 2021. Samsung, however, will remain Apple’s primary OLED supplier.
BOE makes both LCD panels as well as OLED, and it already supplies Apple with LCD displays for iPads and MacBooks.
The analysts suggest BOE will compete strongly with Samsung in the next two years and may begin shipping OLED panels to Apple in 2020. Further, analysts expect BOE will ship 45 million OLED panels for the 2021 iPhone.
Samsung became Apple’s largest OLED supplier in 2017 when the Cupertino, California-based company launched the iPhone X — it’s first OLED iPhone. Since then, Samsung, along with LG, has supplied OLED displays for other OLED models, including the iPhone XS and XS Max and this year’s iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. However, Apple’s lower-cost iPhones, such as last year’s iPhone XR and this year’s iPhone 11, still feature LCD displays. The company’s 2020 iPhones may all feature OLED screens.
BOE’s investments in touch-integrated OLED panels could make it a Samsung competitor
BOE reportedly first pitched its OLED displays to Apple back in 2017 and in February 2018, reports suggested Apple was considering the pitch. Further, reports that BOE invested in similar next-gen OLED technology as Samsung bolstered the idea that it could supply OLED panels to Apple.
Currently, iPhone screens have two layers: the display and a separate touch-sensitive layer that sits on top of it. Samsung, however, offers a next-gen OLED design that integrates the touch layer into the flexible OLED panel, requiring only one layer to do both jobs.
Samsung reportedly pitched to Apple last year these thinner and lighter displays, which are potentially cheaper to produce. BOE reportedly invested in the same technology and has already received orders from Huawei.
Considering Apple likes to diversify its supply chain, the possibility of working with BOE comes as little surprise. The more display makers supplying Apple with panels, the less beholden the company is to any one supplier.