Samsung Display and LG Display Expected to Be the Sole Suppliers of OLED Panels for Apple in 2020

Nov 27, 2019

It is expected that the OLED material for next-generation iPhones will also be coming from South Korean display manufacturers. It is understood that Samsung Display and LG Display will supply their OLED displays to Apple for its new iPhone model that is expected to be released in the fall of 2020. While there is a high chance that BOE, which had drawn many interests, will suffer a sad defeat, South Korean display manufacturers will continue to enjoy being the sole OLED suppliers of Apple. This news confirms once again that South Korea is far ahead of China when it comes to mobile display.
According to the industry, 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch new iPhone models that will be released in the fall of 2020 are expected to be applied with three different sizes of OLED panels. Although there are three types of displays, it is likely that the number of entire iPhone models will be more than four as Apple is also planning to release a model that will support 5G network.
It is understood that Samsung Display will be the sole supplier of 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch OLED panels. Specifically, it will supply on-cell touch flexible OLED panels.
This panel is basically an OLED panel that has touch function built in. Touch sensor is placed on top of thin film encapsulation inside of a panel. Touch function in the past attaches a touch film on a panel. Because on-cell touch OLED panel does not require a separate film, it can lead to a thinner display and reduce production cost.
Samsung Display succeeded in commercializing on-cell touch OLED panel, which is called ‘Y-OCTA’ technology according to Samsung Display, when it supplied the panel to Samsung Electronics.
Because Apple saw the strengths of on-cell touch OLED panel and Samsung Display is the only company that can mass-produce this panel, Apple has requested supplies of 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch OLED panels from Samsung Display.
“Although Apple had been sticking with film touch method since its first iPhone, Samsung Display has succeeded in drawing a change from Apple by actively promoting Y-OCTA technology to Apple.” said a representative for the industry. “It is heard that Samsung Display also suggested shocking terms in order to obtain an order from Apple.”

CEO Tim Cook of Apple is introducing iPhone 11 at an event that was held in September (Source: Apple) <CEO Tim Cook of Apple is introducing iPhone 11 at an event that was held in September (Source: Apple)>

6.1-inch OLED panels will be supplied by both Samsung Display and LG Display as 6.1-inch OLED panel will not be an on-cell touch OLED panel but based on film touch method.
LG Display can also manufacture on-cell touch OLED panels. However, its technology falls little bit short of that of Samsung Display when it comes to quality and productivity.
In order to stabilize supply and demand, Apple has also chosen LG Display to be a supplier of 6.1-inch film touch method-based OLED panel.
It is heard that BOE, which has shown interests in supplying its products to Apple, is most likely not going to be an OLED panel supplier for Apple’s models in 2020. BOE has come to the surface as a potential supplier of 6.1-inch OLED panel as it has participated in projects for the development of iPhones. However, there is a high chance that it will not be included as a supplier this time due to slow progress in development and production yield. If BOE is eliminated, it will be likely that Samsung Display and LG Display will divide the supply of 6.1-inch OLED panels.
Samsung Display, which had been the only supplier of OLED panels for Apple, has prepared itself to continue its dominance in 2020 as well while LG Display is looking to gain some ground on Samsung Display. LG Display has been suppling OLED panels to Apple since ‘iPhone 11 Pro Max’ that was released this year. Although the timing of supply was later than its initial schedule due to a setback in production, it is very meaningful from the fact that LG Display has secured a huge customer like Apple for its small to midsize OLED panels that are seen as a weakness of LG Display. If LG Display is able raise its productivity in unit cost and production yield, it will be able to gain more orders from Apple in 2020.
Staff Reporter Yun, Geonil | benyun@etnews.com & Staff Reporter Bae, Okjin | withok@etnews.com

■Types and suppliers of OLED panels for Apple’s iPhones in 2020
▲6.7-inch &#8710;Characteristic: flexible OLED, on-cell touch &#8710;Supplier: Samsung Display
▲6.1-inch &#8710;Characteristic: flexible OLED, film touch &#8710;Supplier: Samsung Display, LG Display
▲5.4-inch &#8710;Characteristic: flexible OLED, on-cell touch &#8710;Supplier: Samsung Display
Reference: Various industries
<■Types and suppliers of OLED panels for Apple’s iPhones in 2020 ▲6.7-inch ∆Characteristic: flexible OLED, on-cell touch ∆Supplier: Samsung Display ▲6.1-inch ∆Characteristic: flexible OLED, film touch ∆Supplier: Samsung Display, LG Display ▲5.4-inch ∆Characteristic: flexible OLED, on-cell touch ∆Supplier: Samsung Display Reference: Various industries >

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