BOE reportedly struggling with OLED quality for 'iPhone 12' screens

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2020
Supply chain reports suggest that OLED supplier BOE has failed quality assurance checks for multiple vendors, including Apple with screens destined the "iPhone 12."

OLED screens like this on the iPhone 11 Pro are costly and having multiple suppliers should reduce the expense
OLED screens on the iPhone 11 Pro are costly and having multiple suppliers should reduce the expense


While it isn't clear when the "iPhone 12" will start mass production, parts for the device need to be delivered soon. According to a new supply chain report, backup supplier BOE is struggling with quality, and has failed testing on the first run of screens.

Ddaily claims in a report from Friday morning that the company didn't just fail Apple's requirements, but Samsung's as well. The publication claims that the company will try again, and submit a new batch to both companies.

It's not clear whether the failed screens are an initial test run or stock to be used in the "iPhone 12." Apple was previously expected to purchase 45 million panels for the device from BOE, and it isn't clear yet if that will be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, or the quality assurance failure.

Samsung reportedly remains Apple's main supplier of OLED screens. Earlier supply chain sources said that Apple was planning on ordering so many screens from BOE, that it would push LG Display to third supplier.

Ddaily has no clear track record in reporting Apple-related rumors. Monday's claim lines up with previous reports of BOE's ambitions to become an iPhone OLED manufacturer.

BOE is not confining itself to Apple, and is also a supplier for Huawei. Apple originally used only Samsung for OLED displays but, partly to avoid dependence on a sole supplier, and partly with the aim of competition reducing costs, Apple added LG Display in 2018.

Supply chain diversification is why Apple has invested in beleaguered Japan Display, which was a leading LCD manufacturer but has been slow to pivot to OLED.

Apple's "iPhone 12" will use "Apple's A14" processor which is believed to have already entered production.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    Usually, it's only a percentage of a run that is bad, but it sounds as if the entire production batch was bad.  How is that even possible?  I wouldn't think a company would take orders if production was going to be that bad.  It seems rather scary but maybe first production batches are always a problem.  I hope that's just the case.  Why is Samsung going with an outside vendor when they can produce their own in-house displays?
  • Reply 2 of 4
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,782member
    Don't we hear something like this every product cycle?
    razorpit
  • Reply 3 of 4
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,400member
    Usually, it's only a percentage of a run that is bad, but it sounds as if the entire production batch was bad.  How is that even possible?  I wouldn't think a company would take orders if production was going to be that bad.  It seems rather scary but maybe first production batches are always a problem.  I hope that's just the case.  Why is Samsung going with an outside vendor when they can produce their own in-house displays?
    mike1 said:
    Don't we hear something like this every product cycle?
    Yes, mike1, we do hear something like this every year. Gmgravytrain, this is an unconfirmed report from a source with little track record on reliability, so I would not put too much stock in it.

    While I'm not an expert on manufacturing, and while this is certainly something that could happen in the run-up to production, I feel pretty confident that the parts the next iPhone will need -- including screens -- are already stockpiled in large quantities. If reports that assembly of the iPhone 12 will begin next month are correct, that would suggest that components needed for said assembly are already available and that any problems on that end would have been sorted out weeks if not months ago.

    It would be folly of the highest order to hire thousands of new Foxconn workers to put something together that could be halted by any minor production problem so close to the start date for final assembly and shipping . Such a practice would leave zero margin for error and cause workforces to be idle and delays if any problem, no matter how minor or significant, come up. Foxconn will need every day they have between July and the end of September to assemble and quality-check the dozens of millions of iPhones they will need for the initial rush, and maybe then some.

    Even if the report is completely accurate, it reflects how important it is for Apple to have multiple sources for parts. Particularly given the delays that have already been introduced (and seemingly dealt with) to the normal cycle due to the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic issues, Apple's skill at manufacturing at the scale they do is being put to an incredible test. Thus far, it appears we're very likely to see the iPhone 12 launch more or less on time (though I expect supply will be as usual quite constrained for a short time).
  • Reply 4 of 4
    FatmanFatman Posts: 513member
    With over a decade of various quality and supply issues, when will Apple build its own US based display fab? It’s not as if their huge need for displays will go away anytime soon. They can define and control the process more closely, automate to negate labor savings and further integrate vertically. I realize it’s a huge and complex endeavor but obviously a source of risk. They’ve only invested in firms thus far - and those investments did not seem to go well. Instead of spending billions on TV shows - invest in bringing back tech manufacturing to the US.
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