[ET NEWS] Samsung Display has signed a 10 trillion won (US$8.90 billion) two-year deal to supply flexible organic light-emitting diode displays for Apple’s iPhone, according to industry sources on April 4.
The display-making unit of Samsung Electronics will reportedly ship 70-90 million OLED screens this year.
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Apple sells about 200 million iPhones every year, and plans to launch its first model with OLED screen this year to mark the 10th anniversary of the iconic smartphone. Sources predict the name could be iPhone7S or iPhone 8, while there is also speculation about a more radical change like the iPhone X.
Starting with partial adoption this year, all new iPhones are expected to feature OLED screens from next year.
Despite earlier reports that Apple could adopt a curved screen like its archrival Samsung Electronics, the new iPhone is more likely to feature a planar screen due to the low yield rate. Sources say Apple has asked Samsung to produce panels with more curvature.
Samsung Display has been beefing up OLED production in recent years, with plans to produce a monthly 120,000 to 135,000 units of the sixth-generation OLED panels by the second quarter next year.
For the most popular 5.8-inch screen, the production volume will surge to more than 200 million units by the end of next year.
The main challenge is the yield rate for flexible OLED screens. For the rigid version, the yield has been elevated to some 80 percent but the figure for the flexible OLED remains at about 50-60 percent.
“Samsung Display will be the sole supplier of flexible OLED panels for Apple until next year,” an industry source said. “Its archrival LG Display plans to start production soon but the yield rate has not yet been elevated for stable supply.”
By Bae Ok-jin (email@example.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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