When Apple made the switch to OLED screens for its top-end smartphones, beginning with the iPhone X in 2017, it chose Samsung as its supplier for displays. Despite the Korean company being its biggest competitor in smartphones, Apple had no option but to rely on Samsung Display for its OLED panels because of the latter’s dominance in producing high-quality OLED mobile displays at scale.
In the last couple of years, Apple has tried to cut down its reliance on Samsung, but that’s not easy as long as the iPhone maker wants the best displays in the market. A case in point is the latest report from ET News which says Samsung may be the sole supplier of OLED panels for 2020 iPhone Pro models. Even for the non-Pro model, Samsung is reportedly one of the suppliers along with LG.
Apple is expected to release three iPhone 12 models in September next year. The lineup supposedly includes an iPhone 12 with a 6.1-inch display, iPhone 12 Pro with a 5.4-inch display, and an iPhone 12 Pro Max with a 6.7-inch display, with all of them being OLED panels. Going by the ET News report, Samsung Display will be the exclusive supplier of the 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch panels for the Pro models, while both Samsung and LG will supply for the 6.1-inch regular iPhone 12.
The report goes on to state that Samsung convinced Apple to opt for Y-OCTA OLED panels for its Pro models by offering attractive terms. Y-OCTA technology eliminates the need for a separate touch-screen layer by using on-cell touch sensing. This makes screens lighter and thinner while also reducing production costs. Since no other supplier can mass produce these Y-OCTA OLED panels, the Cupertino company apparently decided to go with Samsung.
Samsung and Apple share a complicated relationship. While they fiercely compete against each other in smartphones, tablets, wearables, and more, they also have a supplier-client relationship with the Korean tech giant supplying many of the components that go into making Apple’s products. As one of the largest component suppliers in the market, Samsung shares a similar relationship with many other smartphone rivals as well.