Japan’s JDI beat out rivals such as LG Display to serve as the sole supplier of the initial batch of LCD panels for Apple’s latest version of its iPhone SE smartphones due out next month, according to industry sources on April 27. Sharp – which was acquired by Taiwan’s Foxconn – will later on add to the supplies, the sources said.
The iPhone SE is a budget phone fitted with a 4.7-inch LCD panel, which was slightly bigger than the 4-inch panels in the original SE iPhones that had been once again supplied by JDI and Sharp.
Fraught with a sinking bottom line, South Korea's LG Display had sought to supply the SE model this time, going as far as undergoing a last-round quality check in 2019.
Packed with the latest A13 bionic chip, the $399 smartphone from Apple is receiving rave reviews. Just last week, JP Morgn expected demand to beat the market consensus and help overcome the dampened investor sentiment triggered by the coronavirus.
JDI, meanwhile, has been getting a helping hand from Apple as it faces some tough times. It is now looking to sell off assets such as a factory in Hakusan area. Apple will be buying parts of this facility. “Apple is virtually keeping JDI stay afloat,” said one industry source, speculating that the decision to partner for the latest SE phones may be a part of such plans.
At the same time, they noted that Apple does needs a stable supply of LCD panels. In 2019, JDI supplied 66.6 million LCD panels for the iPhone, while Sharp supplied 51.6 million and LG Display 39.1 million.
With the deal with Apple out of reach, LG Display will have to focus on selling more OLED panels for the iPhone. This year, the LG affiliate is expected to account for up to 15% of the iPhone’s OLED panel supply, up from 10% in 2019.
Based on Apple’s projections for shipping up to 90 million OLED-fitted iPhones in the latter half of this year, LG Display would be supplying around 30 million LCD and OLED panels to the US-based smartphone maker. That would be around 30% smaller than the volume in 2019.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.