Apple Supplier BOE Could Be Frozen Out of Supply Chain for iPhone 14 OLED Panels

Apple supplier BOE is still waiting to receive approval from Apple to manufacture OLED panels for the upcoming iPhone 14 series, after the company was found to have made design changes without Apple's approval (via The Elec).

iPhone 13 Face ID
Earlier this month, Apple cut the Chinese display manufacturer out of the iPhone 13 supply chain after it was found to have changed the design of its OLED panels by expanding the circuit width of thin-film transistors.

The change was likely made in a bid to increase the yield rate, according to The Elec's sources, but when Apple discovered what had been done, it told BOE to halt production immediately. As a direct result, BOE is said to have not received any orders from Apple for OLED panels for the iPhone 14.

The latest report claims BOE visited Cupertino to explain why it unilaterally made the circuit design changes, but it appears the explanation didn't wash with Apple, which is now considering giving the order originally intended for BOE to Samsung and LG instead.

The Chinese display panel sent a C-level executive and employees to Apple’s headquarters following the incident to explain why they changed the circuit width of the transistors.

They also asked the iPhone maker to approve the production of OLED panels for iPhone 14, but didn’t receive a clear response from Apple, they also said.

Cupertino seems poised to give the order for around 30 million OLED panels it intended to give BOE before the incident to Samsung Display and LG Display instead.

Apple is said to want over 150 million OLED panels for the iPhone 14 series, up from the 140 million units it originally intended to order. Display panel makers will likely begin production next month at the earliest, with Samsung expected to manufacture the panels for the 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro models and LG expected to supply the panels for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max.

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 had been planning a significant expansion to overtake LG Display as one of Apple's main suppliers of ‌iPhone‌ displays in 2023.

Related Roundup: iPhone 14
Tags: BOE, The Elec
Related Forum: iPhone

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Top Rated Comments

Sheepish-Lord Avatar
27 months ago
Good. Making design changes is what leads to panel differences, increases potential returns/repairs, damages the brand, etc. Apple already has yearly “gates” for every product so last thing you need is a supplier changing design elements. Would rather have Samsung or LG panels anyway.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
27 months ago
How would BOE feel if one of their suppliers changed an important component they themselves use in the displays they're making for Apple?

Making complex devices is hard enough without your suppliers changing designs and not letting you know.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Corsig Avatar
27 months ago
once again stop using china for production and diversify in other areas
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bumblebritches5 Avatar
27 months ago
Jeez, the Chinese even gyp Apple of all customers
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
anthogag Avatar
27 months ago
BOE got approval from China's government to make the changes. ?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
loby Avatar
27 months ago
Probably “design changes” so they don’t have to modify their production line to save costs, but they “cut” themselves out of the job. No liberty to make design changes without approval. Probably they tried to get away with it and Apple’s QA caught the change. Big “No No”.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)