By the looks of things, Apple could be ditching the idea that Samsung should be the exclusive supplier of OLED displays for its iPhones. The Cupertino giant is now believed to be partnering with Samsung’s neighboring rival, LG, after reportedly investing billions of dollars in the G6 maker.
Last Friday, The Investor learned from South Korean publication Korea Economic Daily that Apple has apparently invested 3 trillion won or US$2.70 billion in LG Display. The investment was for the production of OLED panels for smartphones. Interestingly, this is just advance payment for the panel supplies needed for Apple’s future iPhones.
The partnership is a huge blow for Samsung Display, since it was presumed earlier that the Galaxy S8 maker would be the exclusive supplier of OLED screens for Apple’s iPhones starting this year. Previous reports have indicated that Apple selected Samsung as its OLED supplier for the upcoming iPhones because the South Korean company was the only one that’s capable of producing the quantity and quality of panels needed for the iOS handsets.
Industry sources say that both Apple and LG would remain mum about the investment for now since Tim Cook’s company is still relying on Samsung for the OLED panels for the iPhone 8 and other iPhone installments that would come out later this year. Moreover, LG won’t be supplying OLED screens to Apple until 2019, so formal confirmation about the partnership could come out within the said year. What’s known for now is that LG would be producing 45,000 OLED panels per month for the 2019 iPhones.
Apple’s partnership with LG is actually advantageous for the former. This reduces the risk of relying on one company as its exclusive OLED supplier, and it also helps in securing lower prices for the panels. In addition, this diversifies Apple’s supply chain, as pointed out by MacRumors.
LG is reportedly building a production line that’s dedicated for Apple’s orders only as part of the partnership. Industry sources disclosed that LG needs 3.5 trillion won or more than US$3 billion for 30,000 units of the glass panels per month.
The news that Apple has already invested in LG comes after reports regarding their potential alliance surfaced earlier this month. The reports stated that the two companies had already agreed on the investments plans, so the finalized deal this week did not really come as a surprise.
Apple is said to be switching to OLED displays for all of its iPhone releases in 2019. This explains why the American company tapped LG to be its supplier alongside Samsung, who remains to own 95 percent market share of mobile OLED panels.
It’s also worth noting that Apple isn’t the only one who has seen LG’s potential in delivering quality OLED displays. Google is also reportedly investing 1 trillion won or nearly US$900 million in LG Display’s OLED production for its first OLED smartphone.
LG could be another of Apple’s supplier of OLED displays for future iPhones.