Samsung Display and LG Display have begun the production of OLED panels for Apple’s new iPhone launching later this year, TheElec has learned.
This is a month faster than for the iPhone 12 last year. Apple launched iPhone 12 later than usual due to problems with procuring components for the phones from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Samsung Display began production for the OLED panels to be used in iPhone 13 mid-month. LG Display began production recently, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Samsung began organic material deposition a week earlier than LG. For the module process, where the panel is finished, Samsung’s started around ten days earlier than LG.
The pair started production earlier than last year from Apple’s request, the sources told TheElec.
Cupertino failed to fully capitalize on iPhone 12’s popularity early on and had faced difficulty in securing initial stock to meet the higher-than-expected demand.
Apple is likely trying to avoid the same situation for iPhone 13 by securing components such as OLED panels earlier, the people said.
Samsung Display is planning manufacture 80 million units of OLED panels for the new iPhone. LG Display will be making 30 million units.
Samsung is the sole supplier of low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) thin-film transistor (TFT) OLED panels, which supports 120Hz refresh rate. Apple is planning to use LTOP TFT OLED for the two top tier models. LG Display will be supplying low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) TFT OLED panel for the two lower tier models.
Including the iPhone 12 series and other legacy models, Samsung is expecting to supply up to 120 million to 130 million units of OLED panels to Apple this year. LG is hoping for up to 50 million units.
Market research firm Omdia expects Samsung Display to manufacture 110 million units if OLED panels for iPhone this year, while LG Display is expected to make 50 million units. BOE is expected to make 9 million units, according to Omdia.
Samsung Display is making the panels at its A3 line at its Asan plant. LG Display is doing so at E6 line at its Paju plant. LG considered turning some parts of its E5 line at its Gumi plant for OLED panel production, but Apple didn’t approve of the move.
LG Display is aiming to maintain a yield rate of 80% for E6-1 and E6-2 lines, which will allow it to meet its target of 50 million units.
The company supplied only 6.1-inch OLED panels for iPhone 12 last year, but it will also be manufacturing 5.4-inch panels for the new iPhone. This means it can utilize more of its Gen 6 (1500mm x 1850mm) substrate to make more panels per substrate.