Apple is in the process of finalizing the certification of screens from Chinese manufacturer BOE Technology Group for its iPhones. Citing anonymous sources, the Chinese technology news site indicates that Apple is currently “aggressively” testing BOE’s flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays.
The 2020 iPhones will not necessarily be equipped with Samsung or LG screens. Apple is said to be in the process of certifying OLED panels from Chicness supplier BOE to equip its iPhones next year, which would allow it to reduce production costs and afford independence from Samsung.
Samsung has been supplying Apple screens for its iPhones for a few years now. The South Korean group has become a benchmark in the field and a guarantee of quality. However, according to the publication Nikkei Asia Review, the Cupertino Company seeks to cut ties with Samsung, whose prices are very high. The slabs of the iPhone are the most expensive components and the Apple brand would like to save money on this side.
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BOE is emerging as a major player in the OLED display market. For example, with LG, it is one of Huawei’s suppliers for smartphones like the Mate 20 Pro. He is also at the origin of the foldable screen of the Mate X. For Apple, bringing BOE into the dance has only advantages. It’s cheaper, it frees it from being dependent on Samsung, and it gives it additional leeway to negotiate with the South Korean firm, which may have to lower its prices if it wants to continue trading. with Apple.
It remains to be seen whether BOE will succeed in meeting all the quality criteria of the Cupertino Company, which has already tried (in vain) to find a credible alternative to Samsung in the past. A report also mentions the possibility of 120 Hz screens on at least one 2020 iPhone model . For now, Apple is reportedly discussing this with LG and Samsung.
The Cupertino giant must decide by the end of the year whether to choose the Chinese company as its main supplier of screens. If BOE passes the test, its OLED panels will go into the makeup of two iPhone models launched next year. According to Nikkei, Apple is looking to new manufacturers to reduce the cost of producing its phones as well as its dependence on Samsung.
The South Korean company, which has sold its OLED displays to Apple since 2016, dominates the premium display market, with a share of over 90%, according to Nikkei.
BOE’s entry as an OLED supplier could threaten Samsung’s position and give Apple more bargaining power to secure price cuts. However, amid a trade war between China and the United States, BOE remains vulnerable to possible restrictions from Washington, which could limit its access to essential materials supplied by American companies like 3M, Applied Materials and Corning.
BOE, which began designing flexible OLED displays in late 2017, is currently producing displays for Huawei’s Mate X phone, a major competitor to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. OLED displays use an electric current that passes through thin layers of semiconducting organic material to generate light. The component properties of these panels give them interesting advantages over dominant liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, such as deeper colors, better contrast and a thinner surface. The flexibility of the materials also allows the manufacture of foldable screens.