Apple 'Aggressively Testing' OLED Displays From China's BOE for 2020 iPhone Lineup

Apple is in the final stages of certifying flexible OLED panels produced by BOE Display for use in future iPhones, according to a new report out today.

BOE China
The Nikkei Asian Review says Apple is "aggressively testing" screens made by the Chinese company, as it considers taking on BOE as an OLED supplier to cut costs and reduce its reliance on Samsung, which is believed to be Apple's primary supplier of OLED displays.

BOE is the world's top producer of large liquid crystal screens and already makes liquid crystal displays for Apple's iPads and MacBooks, but the firm has its sights set firmly on the expanding OLED panel market, which is expected to be worth more than $30 billion this year, up from $25.5 billion in 2018.

At the same time, Apple is seeking to diversify its supply chain as much as possible. The company often tries to secure at least two suppliers for any given component in order to reduce its supply chain risk and improve its bargaining position. Given that Samsung's OLED panel is the most expensive component in the iPhone XS and XS Max, bringing on board another supplier would be a significant coup for Apple.

According to today's report, Apple is currently testing flexible OLED displays from BOE's facility in Chengdu, Sichuan province, which is China's first site to produce the advanced displays. BOE is also building another facility in Sichuan province, which would be allocated to Apple if it places orders, Nikkei's sources said.

Two sources with knowledge of the situation said BOE was likely to supply the new iPhones next year if it wins certification. But it might first be asked to offer displays for repair purposes, as well as panels for older models of iPhones, one source suggested. That would still mark a significant milestone for BOE, the source said, as it would be Apple's first-ever purchase of Chinese-made OLED displays.

LG is believed to be the only other OLED supplier Apple is considering for future iPhones. LG already supplies OLED displays for the Apple Watch, but Apple will only order them for iPhones if the South Korean firm can meet the component's high quality control standards – LG reportedly temporarily halted one of its OLED display production lines due to manufacturing challenges earlier this year.

Rumors suggest Apple will complete its transition to an all-OLED lineup in 2020, releasing high-end 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch models with OLED displays and a lower-end 6.1-inch model with an OLED display, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
Tags: Samsung, OLED, BOE
Buyer's Guide: iPhone 12 (Neutral)
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

ColdShadow Avatar
24 months ago
Cutting costs again,and switching from high quality OLED panels made by Samsung to China brand..it’s sad.
and what happened to Apple’s investment in Japan Display company?? why change to Chinese brand??
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Adam Warlock Avatar
24 months ago
Cutting costs again,and switching from high quality OLED panels made by Samsung to China brand..it’s sad.
and what happened to Apple’s investment in Japan Display company?? why change to Chinese brand??
Fewer and fewer people are willing to shell out $1000-$1500 for a new phone every year so Tim Apple has to find more and more ways to squeeze every last penny he can to maintain those obscene profit margins. Sure, it's what businesses are supposed to do, but there's a limit to everything. Luxury cars buyers will stop buying your $90,000 if you replace the wood trim with plastic versions. Same thing will end up happening to Apple if they start cheapening out here and there.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
24 months ago
LG already supplies OLED displays for the Apple Watch, but Apple will only order them for iPhones if the Japanese firm can meet the component's high quality control standards
Small correction: LG is South Korean. Japan Display is the only company with Japanese ties and it's essentially owned by Apple and Chinese investors.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bobob Avatar
24 months ago
Fewer and fewer people are willing to shell out [S]$1000-$1500[/S] for a new phone every year...
Fixed that for you.

Smartphone technology has plateaued - - no one needs to buy a new phone every year.

Plus, if you buy a quality device like an iPhone, which comes with 5 years of OS and security updates, your pro-rated annual cost is very reasonable.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zaft Avatar
24 months ago
Cutting costs again,and switching from high quality OLED panels made by Samsung to China brand..it’s sad.
and what happened to Apple’s investment in Japan Display company?? why change to Chinese brand??
You are assuming they are bad quality? On what basis?

Apple has high standards as they have not put on LG as a 2nd OLED supplier due to issues. Why would Apple suddenly accept substandard displays from China... for all we know they may end up being the same as Samsung’s.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
24 months ago
Samsung is not the only company on this earth to make good oled panels. Good move by “Tim Apple.”
True. Samsung isn't the only company to make good OLED panels. To date, they have been the only company to make good OLED panels at sufficient volume and quality. We don't know if this is a good move or not because we don't know what volume and quality BOE can supply.

Funny thing, BOE is not only rumored to supply some OLED to Apple but they are also rumored to be in talks with LG Electronics to supply OLED... replacing LG Display.
https://www.oled-info.com/will-lg-electronics-replace-lgd-boe-its-oled-supplier
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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