LG Display Might Be Unable to Supply Apple with OLED Panels for 2018 iPhones

A new WSJ report details that LG Display is struggling to make OLED panels for Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup. Apple had reportedly invested in LG Display to help it set up necessary OLED production facilities.

The Cupertino company has solely relied on Samsung for OLED panels for the 2017 iPhone X. It does not want to repeat that same mistake this time around which is why it has been trying to set up LG Display as a secondary supplier.

However, those efforts seem to have hit a roadblock as LG has fallen behind schedule in OLED panel production due to manufacturing problems. This poses a problem for Apple which will start manufacturing 2018 iPhones from July. Due to this, opinions within the company are divided on whether LG Display would be able to form a part of its supply chain this year this or not.

The report also cites that Apple ordered LG Display to go through a third round of prototype production for its OLED panels. This is unlikely of the company as most suppliers don’t go for a third round of prototype production for their components.

Apple does not like to rely on a single supplier for any of the key iPhone component it uses. The 5.8-inch OLED panel on the iPhone X was among the most expensive components used inside the device with an estimated cost price of almost $100. Many analysts expected that LG Display would end up supplying Apple with at least 20 percent of the total OLED panel it requires for its 2018 iPhones. However, even that seems unlikely now given the manufacturing roadblock that LG Display has run into.

Our Take

Despite Apple’s best efforts, it is not surprising that LG Display might not be able to supply the Cupertino company with OLED panels for the 2018 iPhones. LG has been struggling to mass manufacture OLED panels for a long time now and whatever panels it produces, they are not of particularly high quality as well. In contrast, Samsung is able to dramatically ramp up the production of its OLED panels depending on demand, and its panels are the best in the industry.

Thus, even if LG Display gets around to manufacturing OLED panels just in time for Apple to use them on its 2018 iPhones, the Cupertino company still might give them a pass due to their inferior quality.

[Via WSJ]