Changes to Flexible Circuit Board Specifications for Apple's iPhone 12 models are revealed & launch dates are still in Flux
A new supply chain report surfacing today notes that printed circuit board (PCB) maker YP Electronics' hopes of being a supplier of rigid flexible PCB (RFPCB) for Apple’s iPhone 12 are now dashed as Apple recently changed its specification to accommodate OLED displays for all models. Apple has reportedly divided the FPCB it plans to connect with iPhone 12’s OLED display mainboard into two different kinds.
The 5.4-inch iPhone 12 and 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max will use RFPCB, while the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max and 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro will use multiplex PCB, which are cheaper and lower-tiered than RFPCB.
LG Display will be supplying OLED panel for iPhone 12 Max which will use multiplex, which mean that the Korean PCB maker YP Electronics’ won’t be getting orders. LG will instead be getting FPCB from Japan’s Fujikura.
Apple’s change of plan to a lower-tier PCB is likely due to the prevalence of defects from LG’s OLED shipment last year. Changing to multiplex is less costly and makes it easier for LG to produce OLED panels.
This is likely the reasoning behind LG Display being able to win orders for an estimated 20 million OLED panels or four times the amount it shipped last year. YP Electronics had provided its RFPCB to LG for the OLEDs used for iPhone 11.
While YP Electronics appears to be out of Apple's iPhone supply chain this year, they're still expected to be supplying Apple with its FPCB's for LCD iPad panels.
On a second front, a persistent rumor that's been circulating for some time is now being parroted by Digitimes that iPhones will begin shipping in October instead of the end of September. The full report is behind a paywall.
I think that the current round of rumors regarding which month the iPhone 12 will ship is secondary to whether they'll be able to ship all models of iPhone 12's in volume. That will depend on far more complex issues that can't be foreseen or accurately assessed at this point in time.
Those possible Issues include (1) a possible second wave of COVID-19 (Wuhan Virus) hitting China, the U.S. and/or Europe, (2) no dramatic political moves being executed by either the U.S. government or China's Communist Party, and (3) another round of mayhem befalling America in November should President Trump be re-elected.
Without a crystal ball, accurate information about iPhone 12 shipments dates four months or more out is unrealistic.