After having Samsung as its sole supplier of OLED display panels for the last year's iPhone X, Apple is now reportedly looking to add LG Display to its supply chain. Bloomberg's report notes that the company is aiming to reduce its dependence on Samsung for its upcoming line of high-end smartphones, thereby cutting costs and speeding up the manufacturing process. LG's display arm will supply between 2 and 4 million units for this year's iPhone models, which is a minuscule number considering the sales numbers Apple touches each quarter. Unlike 2017 iPhone lineup where only one model sported an OLED display while the other two continued using LCD panels, the Cupertino-based tech giant is expected to flip the situation this year with two of its phone models getting OLED displays and the third model using the conventional LCD panel. All the three variants are rumored to feature a display notch popularized by the iPhone X housing the Face ID facial recognition system.
The report goes on to add that the number of OLED display units supplied by LG Display will continue to grow as the company ramps up its production capacity to raise its portion for 2019 iPhone lineup when Apple is said to entirely ditch LCD panels. For the 2018 models, LG will supply OLED displays for only one of the two models, that too in limited numbers for now. Not only in the case of Apple, most of the global demand for OLED displays for mobile devices is fulfilled by Samsung, given its arguably superior display and a production capacity to meet the demand. LG Display takes a relatively smaller piece of the pie with the company gathering ill fame quite recently after the Pixel 2 XL was swamped with several display complications.
Known industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities gave his prediction of LG becoming Apple's second display supplier back in August last year, much before the launch of the iPhone X. He said that Samsung will continue being its primary partner with LG joining as a secondary supplier, reducing Apple's dependence on the former. With more iPhone models predicted to get OLED panels, Apple needs more production lines churning out a heap of such displays that meet its precise specifications. At the last year's iPhone X launch, the tech giant detailed that it has folded a portion of the phone's OLED display towards the back, moving the display connector behind the display itself, for reducing the chin bezels to match the side ones. This approach turned out to be a major cause for the phone's $999 starting price.