A new report from Korean outlet ET News suggests that Apple is claiming one third of Samsung’s entire production of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays for the manufacturing of the “iPhone 8″‘s screen.
Samsung’s factories have reportedly ramped up their production scale over the past two years, and are able to produce about 45,000 panels a month from which the final OLED displays are eventually made.
15,000 of them are allegedly reserved for Apple.
At this rate, Samsung Display’s facilities would be able to produce about 130 million displays. However, because of an alleged “high degree of technical difficulty” (due to Apple’s specific requests), machines will operate with a 60% yield, and churn out about 79 million displays for Apple to make iPhone 8s with.
This would line up with previous reports that mentioned Apple would only offer the premium, tenth anniversary iPhone in limited quantities. The usual iPhone production hovers around 200 million units, which would put the iPhone 8 at only 40% of total iPhones (Apple is still reportedly planning to introduce two updated “iPhone 7s” and “iPhone 7s Plus” models).
ET News reports that Samsung’s A2 production line has finished inspections, and is ready to “operate on full scale” to fulfill Apple’s demands. However, as Apple will ask to ramp up OLED production in the coming months, Samsung has invested significantly into its production facilities to bring the 45,000 figure to 105,000 panels a month by the end of the year, and even seemingly decided to build an entirely new factory just for iPhones.
The Korean giant allegedly doubled its investment in OLED display production from 2015’s figure — somewhere between $3.55 billion (£2.7 billion) and $4.44 billion (£3.38 billion) — to $8.69 billion (£6.63 billion) last year, ET News reports, adding another $7.72 billion (£5.88 billion) in the first half of 2017 alone.
It’s not clear what percentage of panels Apple will be able to claim when Samsung’s output reaches full scale production, but the bigger portion of displays will still be used for Samsung Electronics’ devices, such as the Galaxy S8 and S8+, and probably the next Galaxy Note as well as the S8’s successors next year. An entirely separate (and much bigger) production line will also allegedly be dedicated to a number Chinese manufacturers.
This is why ET News suggests that it’s “unlikely” that Apple will be able to bring OLED displays to the whole lineup next year. However, Apple does not plan to rely on Samsung alone.
The company allegedly secured a deal with LG Display as well, as it plans to bring OLED displays to the entire three-iPhone lineup as soon as next year, while other reports suggested that Apple is also looking into producing a limited quantity of OLED displays by itself.