Samsung's OLED Display Monopoly May Explain iPhone 8's Rumored $1,000 Price

Samsung is one of the only companies able to reliably mass produce OLED displays suitable for Apple's smartphone needs, giving Samsung a monopoly over OLED panel display and allowing the South Korean company to charge high prices.

In a new research note shared with investors this morning, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says OLED iPhone panel supply is "controlled wholly by Samsung," with Samsung likely charging Apple $120 to $130 per OLED panel module, which is approximately $75 more than the 5.5-inch LCD module price of $45 to $55 for "Plus" sized iPhones.

The high price Apple is currently shelling out for OLED displays explain in part why we're hearing rumors suggesting pricing on the upcoming OLED-equipped "iPhone 8" could start at somewhere right around $1,000 for the entry-level model. Along with an OLED panel, it also uses 3D sensor camera components for facial recognition and many other advanced components that could also add a premium to the price.

OLED displays being provided by a single manufacturer may also explains some of the rumors we've heard about manufacturing difficulties and supply constraints. We're still expecting the new OLED iPhone to be available in limited quantities for several months after its launch.

Kuo says Apple urgently needs to find another company that can supply OLED displays, and Apple is making an effort to do so. Apple is said to be investing billions in LG's OLED smartphone production with the goal of eventually securing 45,000 panels per month for future iPhones starting in 2019.

Apple is also rumored to have purchased OLED display production machinery from a company in Taiwan to research OLED technology in order to cut down on its reliance on Samsung, and there have been rumors pointing towards a partnership with Japan Display.

Until Apple is able to diversify its OLED supply chain, it will be difficult for the company to secure enough inventory at a reasonable enough price to build a full iPhone lineup with OLED panels, which is its ultimate goal for 2018 or 2019. This year, Apple will introduce one OLED iPhone and two iPhones that use standard LCD panels.

Top Rated Comments

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31 months ago
Is that you Tim? Trying to blame the high price on a supplier, lol.
Rating: 56 Votes
31 months ago
They had so many years to diversify their OLED display supply. I mean, it was a no brainer that they were heading towards OLED from LCD and they still did nothing until recently? Android handset manufacturers have been using OLED/AMOLED displays for many years now. Shame on you Apple.
Rating: 37 Votes
31 months ago
There's only one reason the iPhone 8 is going to be expensive and that's Apple's ridiculous margin padding.

The issue isn't Samsung. The issue is Tim Cook.
Rating: 32 Votes
31 months ago

You think Apple would let anyone push them around? They seem pretty pro at negotiations...

Apple doesn't have much to leverage if Samsung is the only company that can produce the panel needed for the iPhone.
Rating: 29 Votes
31 months ago

OLED iPhone panel supply is “controlled wholly by Samsung,” with Samsung likely charging Apple $120 to $130 per OLED panel module, which is approximately $75 more than the 5.5-inch LCD module price of $45 to $55 for “Plus” sized iPhones.

So Samsung's monopoly "explains" seventy-five whole dollars of that rumored $1000 price? Color me unimpressed. Pretty clickbaity.

Edit: Actually, an OLED screen would be more expensive than an LCD screen anyway. So any monopolistic pricing effect would be less than $75. Even less impressed.
Rating: 22 Votes
31 months ago
A monopoly only because everyone still wants to produce the cheaper LCD tech while some companies sucked it up and spent the money on R&D and now they get to reap the rewards. OLED is the future though so get with it other display companies.
Rating: 17 Votes
31 months ago
Looks hideous in white.
Rating: 10 Votes
31 months ago
For reference Apple charges $150 for a non OLED replacement.
Rating: 10 Votes
31 months ago
Why isn’t the Note 8 $1500 dollars?

It ships with a far larger display and is the best available in a phone.


Tim Cook doesn’t run Samsung is why.
Rating: 9 Votes
31 months ago

Doesn't LG have dominance over OLED supply? Why is this even coming from Samsung?

LG has a dominant position in large screen OLED production (think OLED TV's). Samsung has the dominant position in small screen OLED production. They are not the same thing. Apple doesn't need large screens.

Yes they do. It's funny reading people's posts saying LG doesn't know anything about manufacturing OLEDs when they are so far ahead of Samsung it isn't even funny. Samsung has only been successful manufacturing small OLED panels while LG has been successful making small and large OLED panels. Samsung had to exit the OLED TV business after only one year because they could not reliably produce large OLED panels.

No they don't. Where are you getting your information? Samsung's market domination of small screen OLED production capacity is monstrous. That's the reason Apple is investing heavily in LG increasing their capacity for small screen OLED panels. Your anecdote about LG's OLED large panel (TV) capacity has nothing to do with Apple's need for small smartphone panels. It's not like they can take a pair of scissors and cut them down.:D Depending upon the source - and there are multiple, Samsung has 90-95% of the market share of smartphone OLED panels. There's really no question regarding Samsung's current domination of the OLED panel capacity. Once other companies get their capacity up, then there's a choice of who to use. Right now, there are no choices, just A choice.
Rating: 8 Votes

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