We all know the next generation of the Apple iPhone will be out in the coming months. Reports say it will be dubbed the iPhone 11, and whatever be the name, there are indications two models of the iPhone 11 will use OLED panels that have higher resolutions and produce more vivid colors and images, while the most basic will rely on LCD panel similar to last year’s iPhone XR.
Just when Huawei managed to slide out of the trade ban imposed on it by the Trump administration, there appears to be a fresh trade tension between Korea and Japan that could have a negative impact on the upcoming iPhone 11. We reported earlier today that Japan has threatened to issue official statements on July 4th that will restrict the export of fluorinated polyimide and resist and high-purity hydrogen fluoride (HF) to Korea.
These material are essential in making smartphone displays and chips. The resist, in particular, is used to transfer circuit patterns on the substrate of a semiconductor. This is done these days using extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) to mark out where transistors will be placed inside a chip. The high-purity hydrogen fluoride (HF) is used to etch silicon.
It should be noted that Japan accounts for 90% of fluorinated polyimide and resist globally as well as 70% of etching gas, that means Korean companies including Samsung largely depends on these materials for making OLED panels. With the pronouncement expected later on Monday, exporters to Korea will require permission from authorities which usually takes up to 90 days.
Although Apple reportedly threw in a huge investment into the company that supplies the Liquid Retina LCD screens for the iPhone XR and OLED displays for the Apple Watch, the company might not be able to be Apple demand of OLED panel both in quality and quantity just yet. Samsung and LG are the only major supplier of OLED Panels for Apple iPhones, and with the trade war between Japan, and Korea, the two Korean Chaebol could have tough times sourcing enough displays for the 2019 iPhone models. Unless perhaps they already have a stockpile of OLED panels on the ground.