[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Display, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, has won a fresh deal with Apple to supply an additional 60 million units of organic light-emitting diode panels, worth of 5 trillion won (US$4.3 billion), for the next-generation iPhone, according to news reports on Feb. 13.
The new deal comes after the Korean display maker struck a deal last year supplying 100 million OLED display panels for the upcoming iPhone 8, the first iPhone to adopt an OLED screen, which is widely rumored to be launched in September this year.
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Considering Apple sells 200 million iPhones a year, the combined 160 million units of OLED panels will make up almost 80 percent of the entire sales.
Previously, industry sources predicted that the new iPhone will come in two to three variants, with the only premium model featuring an OLED screen. With the increased panel supply, the OLED adoption could be expanded.
Samsung uses OLED for almost 70 percent of its smartphone models, including the flagship S series, while iPhone uses liquid-crystal displays from multiple display makers such as LG Display, Sharp and Japan Display.
A company spokesperson declined to confirm the deal.
With Samsung and Apple, the top two smartphone makers, adopting OLED for their flagship models this year, their rivals are expected to suffer from a supply shortage as there are few alternatives.
Samsung Display dominates more than 95 percent of the mobile OLED market. Its compatriot rival LG Display is also beefing up OLED production with aims to supply panels to Apple as a secondary supplier from next year.
Sources say Samsung has also set a sales goal of 60 million units for the new Galaxy S8 that will be launched in mid-April. Its predecessor S7 sold 48 million units, while the S6 and S5 sold 45 million units, respectively.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)