Barclays analysts believe that for the 2019 iPhones, Apple will be sourcing OLED panels not just from Samsung but also from LG. If this indeed happens, it would be a major win for LG Display which has been struggling to produce quality OLED panels at scale.
Apple was rumored to source a limited number of OLED panels for the 2018 iPhone XS Max but that ultimately did not happen. However, Barclays analysts believe that this time around, LG Display will be supplying OLED panels to Apple for the 2019 iPhone 11 series. This will be followed by BOE joining the OLED supply-chain for the 2020 iPhones. A report from yesterday had claimed something similar stating that BOE would supply Apple with OLED panels for 2020 iPhones.
Even if LG gets around to supplying OLED panels to Apple for 2019 iPhones, I expect the Cupertino company to source the majority of the panels from Samsung itself. LG will be used as a secondary supplier and only provide a limited number of OLED panels.
We have heard numerous times that Apple is looking to source OLED panels from multiple vendors but it has always had to fall back on Samsung. This is because other display makers have been simply unable to mass-produce quality OLED panels at scale. Then there’s also the fact that they need to ensure the OLED panels are built as per the Apple’s quality and standards which is a difficult task.
Samsung is the undisputed leader when it comes to mass-producing OLED panels which is why it dominates the market with over 90% market share.
Apple wants to diversify its OLED supply-chain so as to reduce its reliance on Samsung and to avoid any disruptions to its production due to unforeseen circumstances. Multiple OLED vendors would also allow the company to negotiate a better price for Samsung OLED panels. Due to the lack of other alternatives, Apple recently paid Samsung a hefty fine for not sourcing as many OLED panels as promised in their initial agreement.