LG rides Apple Watch to peak of OLED sales for smartwatches

in Apple Watch
LG Display beat out rivals in the AMOLED smartwatch panel market last year, driven largely by its orders for the Apple Watch, according to new research estimates.

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LG shipped some 10.64 million AMOLED smartwatch panels in 2017 to take 41.4 percent of the market, said research outfit IHS Markit, cited by BusinessKorea. Its next closest competitor was Samsung, which shipped 8.95 million units.

Combined LG and Samsung allegedly shipped 14.75 million smartwatch panels to Apple, with LG representing over 70 percent. Apple has never publicly disclosed Apple Watch sales, only ever bragging about relative performance in vague terms.

The company is widely believed to be the leader in the smartwatch market though, aided by the popularity of the iPhone and the Watch's closer integration than alternatives. At the same time, Apple has taken a cue from some of the competition and moved towards making its product more independent from phones, primarily by adding LTE to the Apple Watch Series 3.

LG Display is a long-time Apple supplier, but aside from the Apple Watch has only historically shipped LCD panels to Apple for products such as the iPad. Most of the company's production capacity is invested in LCD.

That situation appears set to change this year, as the company is rumored to be supplying Apple with a relative handful of OLED panels for this year's iPhones. Reports have pegged the amount at 2 to 4 million or 3 to 5 million. The wide ranges are likely attributable to factors any supplier would have to struggle with, namely yield rates and how quickly production can be ramped up.

Apple is believed to be working on two OLED iPhones for this fall, namely an updated 5.8-inch model and a new 6.5-inch product, sometimes nicknamed the "iPhone X Plus." It's commonly thought that the bestselling iPhone, though, will be a 6.1-inch LCD model, since its price is typically expected to fall somewhere between $600 and $700. Apple may charge anywhere between $800 and $900 for the 5.8-inch OLED phone, and $900 to $1,000 for the "X Plus."


  • Reply 1 of 2
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,663member
    And again, no mention of LGs serious quality control problems for the OLED phone panels they supply. Their OLED panels are suspected to be delivered sometime in 2019, indicating that LG isn’t anywhere near being ready to do so. Whether that’s all because of supply ramp-up, or also due to the well known quality issues, we don’t know, but I would guess it’s due to both.

    apple has stated, last year, for the iPhone X, that the OLED panels were not the same as Samsung’s, but of their own technology. It could have been that the initial slow ramp-up from Samsung was both due to that different technology that Samsung had to perfect manufacturing, and the known problem of cutting the notch, which we were told wasted up to 40% of the initial output. Who ate the expense from that is something we may never know, as well as who was responsible for cutting those notches.

    LG has to deal with these same problems, with manufacturing lines that are not as mature, and have had numerous problems in consistency.

    i wish them good luck.
  • Reply 2 of 2
    Personally, I'd like Apple to use Samsung panels as long as they are the best. No point in getting into a "cut the nose off to spite the face" situation.
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