Recent reports from KGI Securities state that Apple plans to rope in LG for OLED display supply for its upcoming devices over the next two years and beyond. Samsung has been the exclusive supplier of OLED displays to Apple thus far.
The decision from Apple isn’t surprising, considering it is well known for its strategy of having multiple vendors for a single component to overcome production glitches and to have better bargaining power on price.
The report further says that LG will produce 10 – 20 percent of the OLED displays for upcoming iPhones by 2019, likely to increase by 2020.
For Apple, one of the key challenges was always with the OLED panel component, though Samsung has been supplying OLED panels including the recent Infinity Display. Apple might have felt the need for a second supplier for OLED panels since they’re planning to transition out of LCD completely over the next couple of years.
Thus, Kuo believes that Apple is “committed to having LG Display geared up for its OLED iPhone display business in 2018.”
A recent report from the Korean tech analyst suggests that LG Display and Apple have already agreed on the supply numbers, and LG Display is to be positioned as the second supplier of OLED panels.
Following the agreement, LG has reportedly decided to invest in a new facility to support the manufacture of 30,000 OLED panels per month, in addition to its current 15,000 OLED panels that are produced from E6.
Looks like Samsung and LG are in final talks with Apple on the upfront investment and support.
Apple’s investment in LG Display is reportedly worth 3 trillion won or $2.7 billion USD, according to South Korean publication Korea Economic Daily. The report claimed that the investment is for the sole purpose of producing OLED panels and is just an advance payment.
Samsung is so far Apple’s sole iPhone OLED panel supplier across the front and back end manufacturing, and roping in LG Display could have a similar production agreement. LG, known for its strength in front end processes, is collaborating with Foxconn Subsidiary General Interface Solution (GIS), specialized in back end processes. That will significantly boost iPhone panel production rates, and the supply chain process will be much faster for LG and Apple.