LG Display to Supply Apple With 400,000 OLED iPhone Panels By End of Year

Apple has contracted LG Display to begin production of OLED panels for iPhones. According to ETNews, the display panels will be produced at LG's E6 production line in Paju, with shipping to begin next month.


LG will supply approximately 400,000 OLED panels to Apple before the end of the year, with the cost of each unit expected to be around $90.

In September it was reported that LG's sixth-generation flexible OLED display panels passed a series of Apple's quality tests, which led to the preparation phase for mass production.

In April, a report claimed that Samsung would likely remain Apple's exclusive supplier of OLED display panels for its latest phones, after LG fell behind schedule due to mass production challenges.

However it looks like LG has cemented its position as Apple's secondary supplier of OLED panels. Korean newspaper Newspin reported about a potential deal signed between Apple and LG back in July.

Apple in September launched the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max with 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED displays, respectively. Last month it launched the more affordable iPhone XR, but that phone has a 6.1-inch LCD "Liquid Retina" display.

Apple can potentially negotiate lower prices for OLED panels as Samsung and LG compete for its business, which should in turn lower its production costs of OLED-equipped iPhones.

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LG Named Second Supplier of OLED Displays in iPhones

LG has been selected as a secondary supplier of flexible OLED display panels for iPhones, according to Korean publication ETNews.


The report, citing unnamed sources, claims that LG's sixth-generation flexible OLED display panels recently passed a series of Apple's quality tests. LG is now preparing for mass production at one of its plants, the sources said.

In April, The Wall Street Journal reported that Samsung would likely remain Apple's exclusive supplier of OLED display panels for the latest iPhones, unveiled Wednesday, after LG fell behind schedule due to mass production challenges.

If today's report is accurate, however, LG may still be coming on board as a secondary supplier of at least some OLED panels soon. Korean newspaper Newspin reported about a potential deal signed between Apple and LG back in July.

Samsung has been Apple's exclusive supplier of OLED display panels since the iPhone X launched last year. Numerous reports have identified LG as a potential second supplier, as Apple routinely aims to diversify its component makers.

While this news does not have significant implications for customers, Apple can potentially negotiate lower prices for OLED panels as Samsung and LG compete for its business, thereby lowering its production costs of OLED-equipped iPhones.

Earlier this week, Apple introduced the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max with 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch sized OLED displays respectively. The new, lower-priced iPhone XR is equipped with a 6.1-inch LCD as a cost-cutting measure.

The original iPhone X also has a 5.8-inch OLED display, but Apple discontinued that model upon announcing the XS and XS Max.


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Apple Supplier LG Display’s Quarterly Losses Unlikely to Affect OLED Investment

Apple supplier LG Display has reported a second quarterly loss and cut its investment plans by $2.7 billion up to 2020, on mounting concerns for the smartphone market (via Reuters).

LG shares fell 7 percent after it posted faster-than-expected declines in the price of display panels and an unpredictable outlook. The announcement follows news that another Apple supplier, Taiwan-based TSMC, also scaled back its revenue and investment estimates over uncertainty in the mobile market linked to risks of oversupply and unbalanced competition.


Crucially for Apple, LG said the $2.7 billion investment cut would not impact the speed of the Korean firm's transition from LCD to OLED production, although existing LCD operations could be affected.
The investment cut would not impact plans to "speed up the shift" from LG’s mainstay liquid crystal display (LCD) business toward next-generation organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels, the company said.

Plans to invest about 20 trillion won in OLED panels by 2020 remained unchanged, meaning the cuts would apply mainly to LCD operations.
LG's traditional LCD business, which analysts estimate makes up more than 90 percent of its sales, is reportedly struggling with falling prices as fast-growing Chinese panel makers ramp up their capacity.

Against that backdrop, Apple is investing $2.67 billion in LG's OLED panel business, with the Korean firm said to be building a production line dedicated to iPhone orders only, as part of its agreement with Apple.

Separately, LG is believed to have signed a deal with Apple to supply both LCD and OLED panels for the company's 2018 range of iPhones.

Apple is expected to launch two OLED iPhones (5.8 and 6.5 inches) and one 6.1-inch LCD iPhone later this year, with the LCD device to be positioned as a low-cost option alongside the two more expensive OLED devices.

The contract should see LG ship around 20 million LCD smartphone panels and around 3-4 million OLED panels to Apple in 2018. LG also hopes to secure the majority of 6.5-inch panel orders from Apple in 2019, which will see the firm ramp up its OLED shipments to 10 million units in the year.

LG's OLED panel business has yet to make a profit, but the company said it would be positive for earnings in the third quarter.

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LG Display Signs Deal With Apple to Supply OLED and LCD Panels for 2018 iPhones

LG Display has signed a deal with Apple to supply both LCD and OLED panels for the company's 2018 range of iPhones, according to a new report by Korea-based Newspin (via DigiTimes).

The contract will see LG Display ship around 20 million LCD smartphone panels to Apple in 2018, according to the report, which also puts the number of OLED panels to be supplied by LG in the 3 to 4 million ballpark range, as per previous rumors.


In addition, the report claims LG is "likely" to secure the majority of 6.5-inch panel orders from Apple in 2019, which will see the firm ramp up its OLED shipments to 10 million units in the year. LG will reportedly produce the OLED panels for iPhone at its E6 6G plant in Paju, Korea.

Apple is expected to launch two OLED iPhones (5.8 and 6.5 inches) and one 6.1-inch LCD iPhone later this year, with the LCD device to be positioned as a low-cost option alongside the two more expensive OLED devices.

It's unclear at present what the reported LG-Apple deal means for LCD suppliers Sharp and Japan Display, the latter of which is trying to raise millions through third-party share allocations and asset sales in order to have the necessary funds to supply LCD screens for Apple's new iPhones.

Last year, Japan Display lost business because of Apple's shift to OLED, and with the firm again planning to invest in LCDs, it could be in trouble in the future, should Apple increasingly turn to Samsung and LG for both panel types.

DigiTimes has previously claimed Apple will seek 60 to 70 million LCD panels for its iPhones this year, but whether that number is destined solely for the new 6.1-inch model is unknown. Apple has already earmarked $2.67 billion to invest in LG's OLED panel production, with the Korean firm said to be building a production line dedicated to iPhone orders only, as part of its agreement with Apple.

Apple's desire for both LCD and OLED supplies also comes at a crucial time for LG. The company posted a net loss of 98.3 billion Korean won ($87 billion) in the first quarter of 2018, with the prospect of almost doubling that figure in losses for the second quarter.

LG's financial constraints also underline the importance of avoiding a repeat of the firm's past OLED mistakes, such as befell its Flex and G Flex 2 phones, released in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Both smartphone displays were widely criticized at the time for exhibiting graininess and variations in brightness, issues which returned in LG's own V30 and the Google Pixel 2 XL in models launched last year.

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LG Display to Supply Apple With 2-4 Million OLED Panels for This Year’s ‘iPhone X Plus’

Apple's multi-billion dollar investment in LG Display to start supplying OLED technology is close to bearing fruit, reports the South China Morning Post. According to the paper's sources, the Korean firm is almost ready to become Apple's second supplier for OLED screens, allowing Apple to reduce its reliance on Samsung, currently the sole manufacturer of the panels in iPhone X models.

The first OLED screens from LG Display will be used in one model of the new iPhones slated for release this year, the people said. LG Display wants to supply all the screens for that Apple model, though it is not clear it can yet achieve that, one of the people said. The shipment is subject to two layers of approval, the first of which is expected around July, the people said.
Previous rumors have suggested LG will be the supplier for this year's 6.5-inch "iPhone X Plus". The sources in today's report claim LG Display will initially supply between 2 million and 4 million units, as it continues to work on ramping up capacity. While those figures are small relative to Apple's sales, the sources note that they would help Apple gain leverage in price negotiations with Samsung as it looks to eventually switch to OLED-only production for iPhone.

In April, The Wall Street Journal claimed that mass production challenges had caused LG to fall behind the schedule it had agreed with Apple. As a result, opinions within Apple were said to be divided on whether LG Display would be in a position to complement Samsung as a second source of OLED displays for the upcoming iPhones. However, analysts at investment firm Susquehanna estimated that LG will supply as much as 20 percent of OLED displays for the 2018 lineup.

Apart from the "iPhone X Plus", Apple is expected to release two other iPhone models in 2018: a second generation iPhone X and a low-cost, 6.1-inch option with a similar full-face display as seen on the iPhone X, but with LCD rather than an OLED display.

Last month, South Korea's ET News reported that Apple's transition to a full OLED iPhone lineup will be complete in 2019. However, analysts immediately cast doubt on that claim, arguing that the switch would be too early and effectively remove the chance for a "low-cost" iPhone model like the LCD version believed to be coming this year. The same view is also supported by today's report:
The latest move does not indicate Apple is aiming for adoption of OLED screens for all of its iPhones next year and it is more about diversifying its suppliers, one of the people said.
According to The Investor, Apple is investing 3 trillion won ($2.67 billion) in LG's OLED production for smartphones. LG is said to be building a production line dedicated to iPhone orders only, as part of its agreement with Apple.

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Samsung May Remain Exclusive Supplier of OLED Displays in 2018 iPhones Due to LG’s Reported Production Issues

LG Display is widely considered to be ramping up its OLED display production capabilities in hopes of securing orders for Apple's next-generation iPhone lineup, expected to be released later this year, but mass production challenges have caused the company to fall behind schedule, according to The Wall Street Journal.


The report, citing people familiar with the matter, claims that Apple recently subjected LG to a third round of prototype production for the OLED displays, described as an extra step that most suppliers don't go through for many components.

As a result, opinions within Apple are divided on whether LG Display will complement Samsung as a second source of OLED displays for the upcoming iPhones, according to the report. However, analysts at investment firm Susquehanna estimate that Apple will supply as much as 20 percent of OLED displays for the 2018 lineup.

By securing orders from both Samsung and LG for OLED displays, Apple could benefit from more competitive prices and increased supply. Samsung is also one of Apple's largest rivals, so it's easy to see why Apple is aiming for diversification.

Should LG not be in a position to supply Apple with OLED displays for the next iPhones, it's unlikely that customers will notice much of an impact. If anything, availability of Apple's second-generation iPhone X and rumored iPhone X Plus could be slightly tighter, but supplies are typically limited at launch regardless.

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Tags: LG, LG Display

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LG Display to Become OLED Panel Supplier for This Year’s ‘iPhone X Plus’

LG Display saw its shares surge to a one-month high on Wednesday following a report that the company will begin supplying OLED panels to Apple's new range of iPhones this year (via Financial Times).

LG's stock rallied on an Electronic Times report that the South Korean firm would make over 15 million OLED panels for Apple's 2018 range of iPhones. LG is already a supplier of LCD panels, currently used in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but Samsung dominates supply of OLED displays for Apple's flagship iPhone X. Indeed, last week LG Display revealed in a regulatory filing that it didn't supply any of the OLED panels currently used in the iPhone X.

iPhone X Plus mockup by Benjamin Geskin via iDrop News

However, that could change this year, since Apple is expected to launch two new 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhone models with OLED displays in 2018. According to today's report, LG Display will supply Apple with the 6.5-inch OLED panels, while Samsung will supply the 5.8-inch or 6-inch OLED panels.

Reports have been trickling out since July 2017 that Apple has invested billions of dollars in LG's OLED production capability for smartphones. LG was initially reported to have secured 45,000 panels per month for future iPhones from 2019, while as recently as September it was suggested that Apple would have to wait until at least next year before it could move beyond Samsung for significant supplies of OLED panels. However, Wednesday's report suggests LG could secure its position as the number two supplier of OLED screens for Apple's iPhones as early as the second half of 2018. LG is said to be planning to mass-produce the panels for Apple at its Gen 6 flexible OLED production line located in Paju, South Korea.

LG came in for scrutiny recently after it emerged that the firm supplied Google with the Pixel 2 XL's OLED display, some of which were reportedly prone to screen burn-in or image retention issues. It remains unclear whether the problems stemmed from LG or other factors were involved, although the smaller Pixel 2 and original Pixel phones – both with Samsung-supplied OLED displays – have experienced far fewer issues. It's also worth noting that Apple says OLED displays can show "slight visual changes" after extended long-term use and minor screen burn-in is considered normal.

The new iPhone X and iPhone X Plus will likely launch around the usual timeframe of September to October, potentially alongside a new 6.1-inch mid-range model with an LCD display.

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