iPhones went through a major redesign last year when Apple launched the iPhone X with a bezel-less display. The company had to swap the LCD for a flexible OLED panel to make the new design possible. Samsung benefitted from this move by emerging as the sole supplier of OLED panels for the iPhone X last year.
There were reports that Apple is looking to cut down its reliance on Samsung Display by roping in LG as the second supplier for OLED panels on its newer models. It appears Apple went ahead and did precisely that, at least according to a joint report by The Investor and ET News. Citing industry sources, the report states that Apple has selected LG Display (LGD) as the second supplier of flexible OLED panels for its iPhones.
May impact Samsung Display’s revenues
LGD’s sixth-generation flexible OLED panels reportedly cleared a series of quality tests from Apple recently to make this happen. The company is now apparently preparing for mass production of these panels at its E6 plant. The report, however, doesn’t offer any details about when, in which models, and to what extent Apple will use these LG panels.
Samsung Display was expected to make as much as $22 billion in revenue from supplying OLED panels to Apple in 2018. If LG takes a bite out of this, it is bound to have some adverse impact on Samsung Display’s revenues. A sign of approval from Apple would also make it easy for LGD to convince others OEMs to opt for its panels, putting more stress on Samsung Display’s bottom line.
Earlier this year, Samsung expressed confidence in the diverse portfolio of its clients and denied any significant impact on its revenues due to the reported slow-down of the iPhone X sales. We have to wait and see if the company treats the threat from LGD any differently.