It's no secret that Apple relies on Samsung for the OLED panels used on the iPhone X, XS, iPhone Xs Max and the current crop of iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, but it now seems that the iPhone maker wants to lower its OLED-dependency on its biggest smartphone rival with the upcoming iPhones.
The Cupertino, California based tech giant has reportedly secured supplies of OLED panels for future iPhones from Chinese display manufacturer BOE.
BOE will become Apple's second largest display supplier
According to RPRNA, sources in South Korea claim that Apple will be using OLED panels from BOE for some of its iPhone models that will be launching in 2020 and 2021. The report also claims that the display manufacturer will be supplying more OLED panels than LG, but lesser than Samsung for the future iPhones.
South Korea analysts estimate that BOE will ship some 45 million OLED panels for the iPhone in 2021. This means that Samsung will still remain the largest OLED panels supplier for Apple, while BOE will be the second largest and LG will be relegated to the third spot. Apple's other display supplier, Japan Display will likely be supplying the smaller OLED screens used in the Apple Watch.
Deal will lower Apple's reliance on Samsung
This doesn't come as a surprise as Apple will be requiring more OLED panels in 2020 if the rumors that every model in the iPhone 12 series will come with OLED displays are legit. Adding BOE as another supplier would help Apple to deliver stocks when demand for the iPhones increases, as well as lower its reliance on Samsung.
However, it is still unclear if BOE will be supplying any OLED panels for the 2020 iPhones.
Apple had been testing BOE's panels in the past. To recall, back in 2017, Bloomberg had reported that Apple was testing OLED panels from BOE for several months. However, the company did not make up its mind on adding the Chinese firm in its list of suppliers back then.
Progress in 2018
Later that year, there were reports that BOE was trying to secure a deal with Apple by building two massive OLED production lines exclusively for the iPhones, but the deal didn't quite happen. A few months ago, Nikkei Asian Review reported that Apple was extensively testing BOE's flexible OLED displays and the company is likely to make a decision on using BOE panels by the end of the year.
BOE recently became the world's second largest LCD panel manufacturer and is now focusing on OLED technology. The company showcased its flexible OLED displays and its applications at various tech events in 2019. It is also one of the major display suppliers to Huawei which is the world's second largest smartphone vendor.
The company's OLED display division has grown over the past year due to the popularity of Huawei's high-end smartphones, and this might have prompted Apple to finally go ahead and add the Chinese firm in its list of suppliers.