Samsung Electro-Mechanics to Supply Apple with Rigid Flexible Printed Circuit Boards for next-gen High-End iPhones with LPTO Displays
It's being reported this morning that Samsung Electro-Mechanics will be supplying its rigid flexible printed circuit boards (RFPCB) to Apple for the upcoming iPhone 13. RFPCB is used to connect the OLED panel with the main board.
Samsung Electro-Mechanics had considered exiting the RFPCB business last year, with iPhone 12 being the last product it supplied the boards for. The business has not been profitable for Samsung Electro-Mechanics for the past couple of years.
For Apple and Samsung Display, which supplies OLED panels to Cupertino, it is more convenient to continue procuring RFPCB from Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Bhflex, another Korean RFPCB maker, for the upcoming iPhone.
Apple is planning to use RFPCB for the two higher tier models in the new iPhone. The remaining two models will use multiplex FPCB.
RFPCB is both rigid and can be folded, which allows for more convenient product deigns and faster transmission of electric signals. It is a higher value component than FPCB.
South Korean PCB maker Youngpoong Electronics is also expected to supply RFPCB to Apple through Samsung Display.
Youngpoong was added to the supply chain as Samsung Electro-Mechanics could still decide to exit the RFPCB business after iPhone 13.
Youngpoong had supplied RFPCB to Apple through LG Display back in 2019. But it saw its supply of boards for iPhones drop last year as Cupertino decided to have LG Display used multiplex FPCB for its OLED panels instead of RFPCB.
Meanwhile, the two higher tier iPhones this year that will use RFPCB will have low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) thin-film transistor (TFT) OLED panels.
Lastly, The Elec reported that LTPO OLED is needed for a 120Hz refresh rate screen. These panels will be supplied exclusively by Samsung Display.