Samsung Display and LGD Are Reportedly OLED Panel Suppliers for 2021 iPhone Lineup; BOE Appears to Be Left Out

The release of a new generation of iPhone models in the second half of every year has always been a hot topic in the consumer electronics market. This year, the market is especially interested to see if the launch of the new iPhone models will trigger a large wave of device replacement demand. Regarding the rumors about the specs of the upcoming iPhone models that are to be launched this fall, South Korea media outlet Etnews recently reported that Samsung Display and LGD have been confirmed to be the OLED panel suppliers for the new iPhone devices. On the other hand, Chinese panel manufacturer BOE has yet to be formally accepted by Apple as a supplier for the new iPhone lineup. BOE entered Apple’s iPhone supply chain for the first time as an OLED panel supplier in 2020.
According to the reporting by ETnews, the new iPhone lineup for 2021 will comprise four models like the iPhone 12 series. The two high-end models in the 2021 lineup will adopt the LTPO OLED panel from Samsung for their displays. The LTPO OLED panel supports a variable refresh rate that reaches up to 120Hz. This panel technology can automatically adjust the refresh rate as required by the usage scenario, thereby lowering power consumption and prolonging the battery life of a device.
Other media outlets and research agencies reported earlier that Apple intends to use the 120Hz LTPO OLED panel for its 2021 iPhone lineup. Samsung and LGD appear to have prepared ahead of time and amassed a stockpile of LTPO backplanes. Compared with the conventional LTPS backplane, the LPTO backplane consumes less power and supports a higher refresh rate. The adoption of the LTPO backplane is expected to significantly extend the battery life of the upcoming iPhone models, resulting in an estimated power saving of 15-20% compared with the iPhone 12 series. There have also been reports saying that Samsung Display and LGD are converting some their existing production lines for LTPS OLED panels into production lines for LTPO OLED panels in order to meet the demand related to the 2021 iPhone lineup. They will likely finish modifying their OLED lines within the first half of this year.
As for BOE, its progress in entering Apple’s supply chain has not been smooth. Apple initially did not accept BOE as one of the panel suppliers for the iPhone 12 series. However, BOE eventually passed Apple’s certification process at the end of 2020 and has been delivering OLED panels used in the iPhone 12 models. BOE has even expanded its production capacity so as to meet the future demand for OLED panels used in iPhone devices. The sources within the industry have said that Apple will again offer four models for its 2021 iPhone lineup, thus maintaining the same strategy that it took up for the iPhone 12 series. Since all four models in the 2021 lineup will feature an OLED display, the quantity of OLED panels that Apple will be ordering for iPhone devices will probably reach a new high for 2021.
Some sources are projected that the demand for OLED panels used in iPhone devices will total 160-180 million pieces for 2021. Of that amount, Samsung, LGD and BOE are projected to account for around 130 million, 40 million, and 10 million respectively. BOE has not been officially recognized as a supplier for the new iPhone series, and whether the company will be successful in becoming a panel supplier for the upcoming iPhone models is something that remains to be seen.
(New source: TechNews. Image credit: Apple.)
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