At the time of writing, Apple still uses mainly AMOLED panels from Samsung in its iPhones, as was already the case with the iPhone X that came on the market last year. For the unveiling of the two new iPhones with OLED panels, the Apple iPhone XS and XS Max, it was already known that Apple would want to become less dependent on Samsung as a supplier. It thus becomes clear that Apple would prefer to have multiple parties involved in the production of the iPhones, in order to prevent any problems. LG would be the next in line that Apple OLED panels for iPhones will deliver, in addition to that Samsung will continue to do so.
It is an interesting choice for Apple to work with LG for the production of OLED panels; the company has a lot less experience with OLED technology for smartphones, the first smartphone from LG with an OLED screen was the LG G-Flex 2, although that screen was of very poor quality. Last year the company produced OLED panels for the Google Pixel 2 XL, which later appeared to suffer from a blue haze.
This year, the delivered quality seems to be a lot higher, with the Pixel 3 the problems are hardly noticeable. The LG V40 ThinQ, which uses OLED panels from its own factories, also seems to get a good colour reproduction. In addition, Apple’s quality control is very strict, so if LG cannot deliver the desired quality.
Delivery from December
If rumours from the South Korean ETNews are correct, LG will start supplying OLED panels to Apple from December. At the moment the panels would already be produced in Korea to be handed over to Apple in December, for December only 400,000 screens would be needed, the cost of a panel would be around $90 according to ETNews.
How that is compared to Samsung’s AMOLED screens is not known, although it seems in any case that Samsung will still have the upper hand in the number of screens delivered – this may be the result of contract negotiations with Samsung of a minimum purchase.
Moreover, it does not pose much of a threat to Samsung’s market position – the company now produces 95 percent of all OLED panels used in smartphones. However, it gives Apple extra space to negotiate with both parties about the prices of the screens – where previously with the ‘monopolist’ was not possible. Incidentally, the negotiation space with Samsung will also be determined by the quality of the screens that LG can deliver.