What you need to know
- Apple is reportedly lining up an additional OLED display supplier for the 2020 iPhone.
- It is "aggressively testing" BOE Display panels for future iPhones.
- If the displays pass certification, Apple could first start using them for repair purposes.
The iPhone 11 is not even here yet Apple is already making plans for the 2020 iPhone. Apple is reportedly already in the final stages of testing flexible OLED panels from BOE Display to use for iPhones beyond 2019, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
It's been well chronicled that Apple wants to reduce its reliance on Samsung, its main supplier for iPhone OLED panels. After all, Samsung displays are very expensive; in fact, they are the most expensive part of the iPhone XS and XS Max. However, cutting back has proved to be tough as other competitors don't have a streamlined process to produce millions of panels to meet Apple's demands. But that may be changing very soon.
Apple hopes BOE can supply part of its OLED panels for iPhones beyond this year. It is reportedly "aggressively testing" BOE's panels, which could find themselves in iPhones sooner than expected.
Two sources with knowledge of the situation said BOE was likely to supply the new iPhones next year if it wins certification. But it might first be asked to offer displays for repair purposes, as well as panels for older models of iPhones, one source suggested. That would still mark a significant milestone for BOE, the source said, as it would be Apple's first-ever purchase of Chinese-made OLED displays.
Adding a second supplier would be quite beneficial for Apple as reports have suggested it plans to move to an all-OLED iPhone lineup beginning in 2020. Currently, the iPhone XR and its successor due out later this fall will still feature LCD panels, but that could change with next year's variant. A significant factor for that might be the reduced cost of OLED panels.