[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Display is expected to start shipping OLED panels for Apple’s iPhone in June as planned, brushing off market rumors that the launch of the first OLED iPhone could be delayed due to supply shortage.
According to The Bell on April 24, the display-making unit of Samsung Electronics plans to place orders for key components, including flexible printed circuit board, or FPCB, that connects a display panel and the processing chip, within the month.
Under the plans, the panel assembly will start in May before shipping starts in early June, the report said.
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Samsung, the sole panel supplier for the upcoming iPhone, will secure many of the key parts from Korea. The FPCB, among others things, will be produced by three local manufacturers -- Interflex, BH and Samsung Electro-Mechanics.
Industry sources say that concerns over the tricky panel production may have been exaggerated to create rumors about the new iPhone’s possible delayed launch. Earlier some news reports said the iPhone launch that usually comes in September could be delayed by a couple of months due to panel issues.
Sources, however, are still divided whether the phone would come with rumored features such as bezelless design and on-screen fingerprint scanning that are missing for Samsung’s current Galaxy S8.
“Apple is asking for a higher-end display panel than that for the S8,” Jang Hyun-jun, an analyst at UBI Research, told The Investor. “Depending on the adoption, the phone’s launch schedule could be adjusted.”
According to the analyst, Apple hopes for the screen to cover the entire front body, as against the S8’s display area ratio at 83.6 percent, along with more aggressive curvature.
The iPhone maker has recently registered a patent for on-screen fingerprint scanning but the actual adoption is also largely dependent on the display maker’s technology integrating the sensor into the panel.
Due to such technological issues, the S8 had to relocate fingerprint scanning home button to the back of the device.
Samsung Display plans to supply about 72 million unit of flexible OLED panels for Apple this year. The new iPhone is widely rumored to come in three variants, with the largest version featuring a 5.85-inch OLED panel for the first time.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)