Apple in talks with Chinese display maker BOE to supply OLED panels for future iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2017
As it looks to bolster its supply of OLED panels, a hot commodity that remains in short supply worldwide, Apple is reportedly considering Chinese firm BOE as a supplier of next-gen iPhone screens.




Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that while Apple has not yet decided if it will partner with BOE on a next-generation iPhone display, it is already evaluating the Chinese manufacturer's active-matrix OLED screens.

If BOE is selected as a supplier for a future iPhone model, it will be the first display maker outside of Japan or Korea to win an order for the key product. Apple currently sources its LCD panels from Japan Display, LG, Samsung and Sharp.

Just this week, reports claimed Samsung sealed a $4.3 billion deal to supply Apple with 60 million 5-inch OLED screens for a future iPhone model. Prior to that, Samsung supposedly won a separate order for 100 million 5.5-inch OLED panels potentially bound for this year's "iPhone 8."

BOE is considered one of the world's leading LCD manufacturers by volume, but the Beijing-based firm lacks adequate OLED production facilities. As such, BOE is looking to win orders for iPhones built in 2018 and beyond.

To prepare for an expected onslaught of orders, whether they come from Apple or another major OEM, BOE is investing nearly 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) in two AMOLED production facilities in China's Sichuan province. A 46.5 billion-yuan flexible OLED plant in Chengdu is expected to start production this summer and ramp up to a maximum monthly capacity of 48,000 substrates, the report said. The company is spending the same amount of money on a second plant in Minyang, which will output its first panels in about two years.

Apple has long been rumored to move its flagship smartphone product away from LCD technology, but OLED supply is in notoriously short demand. Major industry players are ramping up operations, however, as evidenced by significant investments into OLED manufacturing assets from LG, Japan Display and Sharp and Samsung.

The first OLED iPhone is widely rumored to ship this year in limited quantities as a premium tier device positioned above "iPhone 7s" models. Thought to incorporate exotic technology like wireless charging, a hidden home button and enhanced "glass sandwich" design with reinforced steel frame, the so-called "iPhone 8" could cost more than $1,000.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    Two points.

    1.  OLED display technology does NOT provide high quality color or work well in bright lights vs vivid black and white contrast. If used it will be a step back in terms of color quality. This may be ok due to power savings (think watch) or bright contrast preferred images. 

    2.  The $1000 meme has little to no evidence and recalls silly pricing guesses on orig iPads. That is, wrong!!!

    These points need improved discussion.  OLED come with compromises that need recognition to manage expectations. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 5
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    gprovida said:
    OLED display technology does NOT provide high quality color or work well in bright lights vs vivid black and white contrast.
    Where are you getting your information?
  • Reply 3 of 5
    Component suppliers are of no interest to me personally, but I do wonder why it is of interest to anyone other than maybe day traders or those in the component supply business? My only interest is in the whole product.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    gprovida said:
    Two points.

    1.  OLED display technology does NOT provide high quality color or work well in bright lights vs vivid black and white contrast. If used it will be a step back in terms of color quality. This may be ok due to power savings (think watch) or bright contrast preferred images.  
    That's pretty far from the truth. OLED has outstanding color. Vivid black? LCD (LED) panels don't even come close to the quality of blacks displayed on OLED. OLED has better blacks, better dynamic contrast, excellent viewing angles, better color gamut, etc. 
  • Reply 5 of 5
    The new iPhoneX will be amazing and expensive.  It will also be crazy supply constrained if the production run is only 60 million.
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