Apple is widely rumored to launch its 10th-anniversary iPhone 8 with OLED display later this year. Since the company is also eyeing to switch its complete line on to OLED panels, it has been looking to diversify its OLED supply chain by 2018. Fo now Apple is fully depending on its arch-rival Samsung to supply 92 million OLED panels over the period of next 2 years.
A report from Korean media now claims that the company is mulling to invest $2.6 billion in LG Display’s E6 OLED plant in an effort to diversify its supply chain for these display panels. When the factory is fully operational after this investment from Apple, it would be able to produce 30,000 units of 6th-generation OLED panels. Such huge investment will reportedly ensure that all the OLED units produced through this plant will be reserved for Apple only.
On conditions to keep the name undisclosed, an industry insider said that “Samsung Display is the only display maker that meets Apple’s strict quality criteria for now. LG Display is said to be meeting about 70 percent level of the requirements, while Chinese display makers are still struggling to catch up with that of LG.”
Apple is yet to finalize its investment plan in LG Display, however, both companies have been in talks lately. The decision is expected to be made after a board meeting scheduled to take place by the end of this month. It is worth noting that even if the deal between Apple and LG happens to be a reality, the resultant Display plant won’t be able to start producing OLED units until 2019, which is still a few years away.
While LG eagerly wanted to start supplying OLED panels to Apple before that, the company failed to procure the best and the most advanced OLED manufacturing equipment called Tokki’s vacuum machine. The Canon-owned Tokki has reserved its supply of equipment for Samsung only which happens to be its biggest customer. Tokki has been unable to meet the demand from other Chinese OEMs as well.
LG reportedly has also been in talks with Google for a potential investment. Such investment would help Google secure a steady supply of OLED panels for the Pixel devices.