According to media sources, Apple plans to invest $330 million to build a factory in Taiwan, China. For this factory, the development of MicroLED displays will become a “top priority.” The new Taiwan factory will produce LEDs and MicroLEDs for future iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and other devices. For Apple, mini LEDs are only a viable alternative, the real target is MicroLED. However, this future investment does not prevent the American manufacturer from investing heavily in OLED displays.
The emergence of the iPhone X marks the gradual shift of Apple phones to OLED panels. Nowadays, the proportion of the display screen in the BOM cost is quite high and Apple is preparing alternatives. Nevertheless, the company has to stick with OLEDs for now. Apple failed to release any 5G smartphone last year. However, there are now confirmations that the company will launch four iPhone 12s that support 5G network connections. These smartphones will arrive in the second half of this year. In addition to supporting 5G, the OLED screen is also a major attraction of the iPhone 12.
DSCC estimates that Apple will be the world’s highest OLED buyer this year
According to analysts and research institutions, these four new iPhones will all use OLED screens. The iPhone 12 series smartphones all use OLED screens. This will greatly stimulate the demand for OLED panels. Furthermore, they expect Apple to be the world’s largest buyer of OLED panels this year. According to DSCC (Display Supply Chain Consultants), Apple’s expenses this year on OLED panels will hit $9.8 billion. This means that it will account for about 30% of the global OLED panel expenditures.
In terms of OLED panel spending, Samsung is second only to Apple. DSCC estimates that Samsung will spend $8.8 billion, accounting for 27% of the global total.
But unlike Apple, Samsung Display, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, is also an OLED panel supplier. Apple also has to purchase OLED panels from Samsung for use in OLED screens for iPhone, iPhone X, iPhone XS, etc. supply. According to reports, most of the iPhone 12 series OLED displays will be Samsung’s panel.
Another manufacturer that will have a good amount of Apple’s order will probably be BOE. The Chinese display manufacturer has been rising since it supplied the Huawei Mate 20 series. It is possible for Apple to get some cheaper panels from BOE for its “budget” models. LG is also another possible supplier for Apple’s OLED panels. However, as we said earlier, South Korean manufacturing giant, Samsung, will probably get the better part of the orders.