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.

iphone8dummy2
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

macfacts Avatar
64 months ago
Is that you Tim? Trying to blame the high price on a supplier, lol.
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lolkthxbai Avatar
64 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.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Technarchy Avatar
64 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.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
applesith Avatar
64 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.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kabeyun Avatar
64 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.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WatchTheThrone Avatar
64 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.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

cook sept 2020 event

Gurman: Apple Preparing Pre-Recorded iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 Event

Sunday August 7, 2022 6:13 am PDT by
Apple has "started to record" its virtual September event, where it's expected to announce the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 8, and a new "rugged" Apple Watch model, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman says the event, which is expected to take place in the early part of September, is already under production, implying...
iPhone 14 Lineup Feature Purple

Color Options for All iPhone 14 Models: Everything We Know

Monday August 8, 2022 3:59 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are rumored to be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color. Most expectations about the iPhone 14 lineup's color options come from an unverified post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this year. Overall, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the ...
ios 16 beta 5 battery percent

iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage Now Displayed in iPhone Status Bar

Monday August 8, 2022 10:43 am PDT by
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, XS and XS Max, and...
iOS 16 battery percentage

Apple Limiting iOS 16 Beta 5 Battery Percentage Display to Select iPhones: Here Are the Supported Devices

Tuesday August 9, 2022 2:51 am PDT by
Apple this week brought back one of the most highly requested features from iOS users since the launch of the iPhone X in 2017: the ability to see your battery percentage directly in the status bar. Ever since the launch of the iPhone X with the notch, Apple has not allowed users to show their battery percentage directly in the status bar, forcing them to swipe down into Control Center to...
ios 16 battery indicator 2

Everything New in iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage in Status Bar, Find My Changes and More

Monday August 8, 2022 12:53 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of iOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, introducing some small but notable changes to the iOS operating system. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've rounded up everything new in the fifth beta below. Battery Percentage in Status Bar The battery icon in the status bar now displays the exact battery percent, a feature that ...
iphone 14 pro max camera bump compared lipilipsi 16 9

Bigger iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Bump Shown Alongside iPhone 13 Pro Max

Monday August 8, 2022 4:33 am PDT by
The camera bump on the upcoming iPhone 14 Pro Max is expected to be the largest rear lens housing Apple has ever installed on its flagship smartphones, and a new photo offers a rare glimpse at just how prominent it is compared to Apple's predecessor device. iPhone 14 Pro Max dummy (left) vs iPhone 13 Pro Max All iPhone 14 models are expected to see upgrades to the Ultra Wide camera on the...
airpods pro black background

Beyond iPhone 14: Five Apple Products Expected to Launch Later This Year

Monday August 8, 2022 9:43 am PDT by
While the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 are expected to be announced in September as usual, there are several more Apple products rumored to launch later this year, including new iPad and Mac models and more. Beyond the iPhone and Apple Watch, we've put together a list of five Apple products that are most likely to be unveiled by the end of 2022. Second-Generation AirPods Pro Apple...