Apple in talks with Chinese display maker for sourcing OLED panels
- Fariha Khan
- February 22, 2017
According to sources, though Apple has not yet decided if it will join hands with BOE on a next-generation iPhone display, it is considering the Chinese manufacturer's active-matrix OLED screens already. In case BOE is chosen as a supplier for an upcoming iPhone, it will be the first display maker outside of Japan or Korea to get an order for the product. At the moment, Apple sources its LCD panels from Japan Display, LG, Samsung and Sharp.
Samsung sealed a $4.3 billion deal this week in order to supply Apple with 60 million 5-inch OLED screens for a future iPhone. Before that, the company purportedly got a separate order for 100 million 5.5-inch OLED panels possibly bound for this "iPhone 8."
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BOE makes one of the world's leading LCD manufacturers in terms of volume, but it lacks adequate OLED production facilities. The company is looking to get orders for iPhones built in 2018 and afterwards.
To be ready for a likely onslaught of orders, no matter if they come from Apple or some other major OEM, BOE is capitalizing almost 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) in 2 AMOLED production services in China's Sichuan province. A 46.5 billion-yuan flexible OLED plant in Chengdu is anticipated to start production soon and rise up to a maximum monthly capacity of 48,000 substrates, according to the report. The firm is spending the same sum of money on another plant in Minyang that will output its first panels in 2 years.
Apple has long been thought to move its flagship smartphone away from LCD technology. However, OLED supply is in particularly short demand. Key industry players are ramping up operations, but, as shown by noteworthy investments into OLED manufacturing assets from Samsung, Sharp, LG and Japan Display.
The first OLED iPhone is extensively supposed to ship in 2017 in restricted amounts as a premium tier device sited above "iPhone 7s" models. Believed to integrate exotic technology such as wireless charging, a hidden home button and improved "glass sandwich" design with reinforced steel frame, the so-called "iPhone 8" could cost over $1,000.