Strategy Shift? Apple to Source iPhone 9 L-shaped batteries from LG Chem Alone

Apple has changed its multi-vendor strategy to depend on LG Chem alone as the sole supplier of next generation L-shaped batteries for iPhone 9

iphone 8 design confirmed
Picture for representation Reuters

Apple has chosen LG Chem to supply next generation batteries for its iPhone 9, to be released in 2018 with a novel compact and miniaturized design for effective integration in the overall pack, said Korean Economic Daily.

LG has reportedly spent hundreds of billions of won to develop facilities for manufacturing the next generation batteries for iPhones in the pipeline, indicating a strong tilt in Apple's strategy to engage the Korean conglomerate for all its future battery requirements.

The report, quoting sources said the production will take off early next year and the South Korean company will be the sole supplier of batteries for "iPhone 9". Otherwise, Apple has so far sourced its iPhone batteries from LG Chem, Samsung SDI, China ATL and Murata Manufacturing Co. of Japan.

The entirely redesigned battery will have a module bent or extended on one side at the bottom in L-shape, replacing iPhone's standard rectangular "jelly roll" lithium-ion batteries, said the report. The novel shape optimizes internal space by way of component miniaturization and integration, besides increasing the charging speed.

The news about the L-shaped batteries was first revealed by KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo when he speculated earlier that Apple may embark upon a new two-cell design. However, he hoped that Apple would employ the new battery for iPhone 8 but the Korean Economic Daily report indicates that the upcoming "iPhone 8" may not have the new battery.

Surprisingly, Apple has, for the first time, set aside its "multi-vendor strategy," encouraging competition among its suppliers and opted for LG Chem as the sole supplier of batteries. Upbeat LG Chem is hoping to push its sales growth in the battery business riding on Apple order alone.

Moreover, the shift in strategy is not surprising in the backdrop of a global disrepute caused to Samsung flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphones last year which had burst into flames forcing a massive recall, attributed to design flaw and a new supplier.