Apple Drops BOE iPhone Displays After Discovering Unexpected Design Changes

Apple has virtually cut Chinese display manufacturer BOE out of the iPhone 13's supply chain after discovering design changes to its OLED panels, The Elec reports.

iPhone 13 Face ID
BOE has been supplying OLED display panels for 6.1-inch iPhone models since last year, but the company has only manufactured a "meager amount" of OLED panels for the ‌iPhone‌ since February, according to The Elec. Panel production volume is said to have "plummeted over the past four months."

The initial reason for a dip in production output was a shortage of display driver Integrated Circuits (ICs), since IC supplier LX Semicon prioritized LG Display's orders. More significantly, BOE reportedly changed the design of its OLED panels by expanding the circuit width of thin-film transistors. The Elec claims that when Apple discovered the change, it told BOE to halt production.

Nevertheless, BOE is unlikely to be excluded from Apple's OLED panel supply chain going forward because its presence puts pressure on Samsung Display and LG Display to be more competitive and cut prices. BOE's factory in Sichuan is said to still be operational, and it is possible that BOE is currently working on a workaround to meet Apple's requirements.

BOE has manufactured OLED panels for the iPhone 12 and ‌iPhone 13‌ at two factories in China, accounting for just 10 percent of all ‌iPhone‌ displays in 2021, but the company has been planning a significant expansion to overtake LG Display as one of Apple's main suppliers of ‌iPhone‌ displays in 2023.

Tags: BOE, The Elec

Top Rated Comments

coolfactor Avatar
10 months ago
Changing specifications behind a client's back to reduce operating costs? That's a big no-no.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stunning_Sense4712 Avatar
10 months ago

Not all Chinese manufacturers are bad. The reason why China got a reputation for cheap products had nothing to do with Chinese people or corporations but an American corporation specifically one that wanted the cheapest possible items and bought it in bulk to sell at an extreme markup. 60 years later they’re still doing this.
I disagree. China is known for dodgy practices in general. You have them manufactoring dangerous knock off chargers, selling questionable batteries, stealing IP, selling equipment that failed QC or a device that was supposed to be destroyed, and making design/material changes without approval.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Solomani Avatar
10 months ago

Changing specifications behind a client's back to reduce operating costs? That's a big no-no.
A Chinese supplier cutting corners. Color me shocked! Shocked!
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nathan_reilly Avatar
10 months ago

Not all Chinese manufacturers are bad. The reason why China got a reputation for cheap products had nothing to do with Chinese people or corporations but an American corporation specifically one that wanted the cheapest possible items and bought it in bulk to sell at an extreme markup. 60 years later they’re still doing this.
yeah, of course, the reason China bad is really America bad.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
russell_314 Avatar
10 months ago

What does Apple expect from a Chinese manufacturer that is par the course.
Not all Chinese manufacturers are bad. The reason why China got a reputation for cheap products had nothing to do with Chinese people or corporations but an American corporation specifically one that wanted the cheapest possible items and bought it in bulk to sell at an extreme markup. 60 years later they’re still doing this.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bassexpander Avatar
10 months ago

Not all Chinese manufacturers are bad. The reason why China got a reputation for cheap products had nothing to do with Chinese people or corporations but an American corporation specifically one that wanted the cheapest possible items and bought it in bulk to sell at an extreme markup. 60 years later they’re still doing this.
I live in Asia. Been here for 20 years. If you don’t run your own QC (Apple obviously does) then many of the locals in China feel as if they’ve achieved something spectacular if they can get away with dropping quality midway, to pocket more money. It’s an endemic problem in Asia, and many, many foreign companies learned the hard way.

US manufacturers once took great pride in “a job well done.” Japanese manufacturers are about perfection. Germans will over-engineer a product to amazing specs. But Chinese will wheel and deal in a lightning fashion, then pull the rug out from under quality and feel absolutely giddy if they can get away with giving less than was ordered. Proud, in fact.

Of course, there are companies who have learned long term gains are better than short term cheats. Juggernauts like Apple will give their business to the first group, and dump the rest like a bad habit.

It’s not racist to call this out. China is not a race. It is a cultural issue they have been changing (but it still exists). Korea was once this way, but it has become a world leader in tech, and they are darned proud of it.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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