Apple is in discussions with China’s BOE Technology Group to supply OLED screens for the 2018 iPhone, reports Bloomberg. The Cupertino company is looking for ways to shore up its OLED supplies as the iPhone transitions from LCD to OLED displays.
Apple has been testing BOE’s OLED displays for months, according to Bloomberg, but it isn’t yet sure whether to add the company as a supplier. BOE is one of China’s largest display makers, recently spending about $14.5 billion on two AMOLED factories. Talks are too early to allow BOE to contribute displays for Apple’s 2017 OLED-based iPhone, known as the iPhone 8, but BOE is hoping to contribute to the 2018 iPhone supply.
If Apple and BOE agree to a deal, the Chinese manufacturer will become Apple’s first OLED supplier outside of South Korea and Japan. In November, it was reported that Apple’s OLED suppliers, which include Samsung, LG, Sharp and Japan Display, would not be able to meet demand for the 2017 iPhone. The worldwide shortage of OLED displays is thought to be one of the reasons why Apple is limiting the feature to the high-end device, while the regular iPhone 7s and 7s Plus are said to feature LCD displays.
One of BOE’s new factories will open this summer while another will open a couple years later. When they’re up to full capacity, BOE says they’ll be able to produce 1.6 million square-meters of flexible glass substrates (surfaces that displays are carved out of) a month.
Samsung will exclusively produce OLED displays for iPhones in 2017, with Apple opening up to LG, Sharp and Japan Display in 2018.
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