Last November Apple had reportedly notified their supply chain of its plans to switch from LCD to OLED for future iPhones. The time frame for the switch was vaguely noted as being 2017-2018. Word surfaced in December that JDI was going to be in the race to be an OLED display supplier for Apple and later in the month news hit the wire that Apple was on the cusp of signing deals with LG and Samsung for flexible OLED iPhone displays. We further reported that Samsung was already sending Apple samples of OLED displays for the iPhone, if not the iPhone 7, even though that was out of line with previous reports. Today, a new Korean report has surfaced with an unsubstantiated claim that Apple has chosen Samsung as their primary supplier of iPhone OLED displays, with LG being a distant second supplier.
The ET News report states that yesterday, industry sources claim that "Samsung Display and Apple signed off on an official contract and decided on amount of supply for this year. Markets are estimating that Samsung Display has secured production capability of 60,000 Flexible OLED Panels per month this year and will supply them to Apple."
These are clearly numbers that couldn't support the iPhone 7. Even if Samsung began to ship in April, that would only give Apple 360,000 iPhone panels. The iPhone 7 will likely sell 5-10 million in the first week.
Although today's report tries to downplay LG's ability to supply Apple in volume, LG's new OLED plant could start supplying Apple with OLED panels as early as late 2017 with the ability to ramp up production in 2018 to produce 200 million 5" OLED panels per year.
The report further noted that industry sources "are estimating that Samsung Display will supply at least 50% and up to 70 to 80% of OLED panels for early iPhones that will have Flexible OLEDs."
The vagueness and over enthusiasm for Samsung over other suppliers would suggest that the report likely stemmed from an industry broker trying to position Samsung in the race for Apple's business and not necessarily facts we could take to the bank. With Samsung struggling with profits and shareholder anger of late, it's a convenient rumor but one that should be noted for the record.The fact that Samsung will be a leading OLED panel supplier for Apple isn't in question, it's the level of supply that is.