Samsung Begins Running OLED Production Lines for iPhone 8 at Full Capacity

As we enter the season of iPhone production ramp-up stories, news out of Apple's supply chain today reports that Samsung Display is gearing up to operate seven of its next-generation OLED lines at full capacity in August, all of which are dedicated to Apple and the iPhone 8.

According to ETNews, the OLED ramp-up follows a series of inspections that Samsung made on each of the seven lines over the past few weeks in preparation for Apple's much-anticipated OLED-only iPhone 8. Samsung Display is the only supplier of OLED screens for the 2017 iPhone, and the manufacturer is said to see an increase from 15,000 panels per month to 105,000 panels per month following the full scale production increase.

A recent concept of the OLED iPhone 8 via Max Rudberg

Samsung Display crafts multiple iPhone screens out of a single of its OLED panels, so if it keeps its production lines at maximum capacity with 100 percent yield, the supplier can produce 130 million 5.8-inch OLED iPhone screens in one year. Of course, the reality is that OLED is difficult to manufacture, and industry watchers believe that the yield rate for the Samsung Display OLED iPhone 8 line will be "at least" 60 percent. Multiple reports this year have pointed towards production delays in the supply chain, potentially leading to a limited capacity iPhone 8 launch.

While Samsung Display will be the sole OLED supplier for the 2017 iPhone, numerous sources have said that a new supplier -- LG Display -- will enter Apple's OLED supply chain in 2018. Apple is said to have invested $2.6 billion into LG Display to help the supplier get set up as a major OLED manufacturer for future iPhones, with Apple pressing LG to be ready as soon as next year. LG Display is also planning to invest $13 billion in OLED production over the next three years, continuing its dominance in the OLED TV screen market and specifically hoping to "make inroads against rival Samsung in smartphone displays."

Top Rated Comments

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37 months ago

I find it kind of funny that Samsung is basically the only company that can actually supply OLED screens to Apple in the right capacity to launch the iPhone 8 and yet they don't use this as a competitive advantage over Apple.

The iPhone 8 design is heavily dependent on using an OLED screen. If Samsung didn't agree to supply the OLED screens to Apple, there would be no iPhone 8.

I'd be curious to know what kind of secret agreement there is between Apple and Samsung. It can't be just about producing screens and getting a little bit more money out of it.

You overestimate the dependence on OLED and Samsung's competitive advantage. Using OLED is hardly a make or break feature for iPhone. If Apple can remove Touch ID, do you really think OLED is a must? Is there some major deficiency with the iPhone 7 display that needs fixing?

At least one other Korean and three other Chinese companies are producing OLED. Being the sole supplier is not just "a little bit more money." It's a lot of money supplying 200 million units. The Samsung Group is a conglomerate because they do large scale businesses and cut other competitors out. Not supplying Apple with OLED and letting LG, Tianma, BOE, and CSOT take the business this year or next year is short sighted.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
37 months ago

I find it kind of funny that Samsung is basically the only company that can actually supply OLED screens to Apple in the right capacity to launch the iPhone 8 and yet they don't use this as a competitive advantage over Apple.

Because people want an iPhone and not a Samsung, even if the Samsung has an OLED screen.

And because OLED technology is not exclusive to Samsung. If they don’t give Apple the OLEDs, LG and others would be happy to serve.

Is that difficult to understand?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
37 months ago

I find it kind of funny that Samsung is basically the only company that can actually supply OLED screens to Apple in the right capacity to launch the iPhone 8 and yet they don't use this as a competitive advantage over Apple.

The iPhone 8 design is heavily dependent on using an OLED screen. If Samsung didn't agree to supply the OLED screens to Apple, there would be no iPhone 8.

I'd be curious to know what kind of secret agreement there is between Apple and Samsung. It can't be just about producing screens and getting a little bit more money out of it.

That's not how it works in the business world. First, there would be a new 7s and a new 8, even if it didn't have an OLED screen and there will be many other advances beyond the OLED. The current phone doesn't have OLED, yet smokes Samsung's best phones by such a massive amount in sales that they aren't in the same league.

More importantly, Samsung is a conglomerate and it would be insanity for Samsung to forego billions of dollars in profits, this year and in subsequent years from the sale of OLED screens to Apple. Whatever small percentage of people who would not purchase an iPhone simply because it didn't have an OLED screen would bring an insignificant amount of revenue to Samsung compared to the loss of billions.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
37 months ago

Apple sells roughly around 45 million iPhone per quarter. Only 92 million OLED panels for two years won't be enough to supply everyone with the new OLED iPhone. Therefore many Apple fans won't be able to get the new OLED iPhone on time, even if they can afford one, thus forced to get the iPhone 7S (or something else, but Apple fans will always get iPhone).

Let's assume that both LG and Samsung can provide 200 million panels a year, but only 70 million this year won't be enough for everyone to get OLED...

Not every Apple phone sold is a flagship phone. Apple continues to sell iPhone 6S and SE.

If you look at calendar Q1'17, only 15-20 million units sold per quarter are the flagship iPhone 7 Plus.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
37 months ago
Time for mass production. Let's go Apple
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
37 months ago
I find it kind of funny that Samsung is basically the only company that can actually supply OLED screens to Apple in the right capacity to launch the iPhone 8 and yet they don't use this as a competitive advantage over Apple.

The iPhone 8 design is heavily dependent on using an OLED screen. If Samsung didn't agree to supply the OLED screens to Apple, there would be no iPhone 8.

I'd be curious to know what kind of secret agreement there is between Apple and Samsung. It can't be just about producing screens and getting a little bit more money out of it.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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