|Apple iPhone OLED market next year, Samsung D, LGD, BOE forecast|
Next year, Apple's iPhone OLED market is expected to develop in a three-way battle between Samsung Display, LG Display, and China's BOE. BOE has received conditional approval of OLED for iPhone 13 from Apple in the US, and the possibility of delivery within this year has increased. In this market, Samsung and LG's market share dominance will continue into next year, but price competition is expected to intensify centering on iPhone sub-models, which are likely to supply BOE's OLED.
According to the industry on the 17th, BOE recently received conditional approval (risk order) for an organic light emitting diode (OLED) panel for iPhone 13 from Apple, and the possibility of reorganizing the iPhone OLED market next year has increased. Until the iPhone 13 series, which was unveiled on the 15th, only Samsung Display and LG Display have supplied panels for new OLED iPhones. BOE has been belatedly supplying new iPhone 12 shipments, starting with approval of refurbishment (repair) panels for iPhone 12 at the end of last year.
BOE received conditional approval from Apple for the 6.06-inch basic model of the iPhone 13 series this year. Although BOE has not yet met Apple's requirements 100%, if the defects are corrected by the deadline agreed by both sides, BOE's iPhone 13 OLED supply will be completed within this year. BOE can expect to supply OLED panels from the stage of launching a new iPhone next year.
BOE is expected to aim to supply low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) thin film transistor (TFT) type OLED panels with relatively low technical difficulty among the four iPhone 14 (tentative name) series next year.
Apple is preparing for next year's iPhone 14 series in four types: 6.06-inch basic model, 6.7-inch Plus (or lower lineup), 6.06-inch Pro, and 6.7-inch Pro Max (or higher lineup). For the upper lineup (Pro Pro Max), Apple has confirmed the low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) TFT method with high technical difficulty. Among the lower lineup, the 6.06-inch basic model has been decided to apply LTPS TFT, and it is known that the 6.7-inch Plus model has not yet been decided between LTPO and LTPS.
The model that BOE can expect to deliver first is the 6.06-inch basic model. The iPhone 12 basic model, which BOE had previously approved, and the iPhone 13 basic model, which received conditional approval this year, both had a screen size of 6.06 inches. Compared to other models, the change in display specifications is small, so the barrier to entry is relatively low even for BOE. If the 6.7-inch Plus model is decided by the LTPS method, BOE can also expect this model to be delivered.
If BOE supplies OLED panels for iPhone 14, Apple can more easily demand panel price cuts from Samsung Display and LG Display. In general, if Samsung Display sets the price that Samsung Display is supplying for OLED of the same specification as 100, LG Display is known to call 80% of this price and BOE calls 80% of this price again. Comparing BOE's offering price to Samsung Display's supply price, it is more than 30% lower.
Therefore, BOE's iPhone OLED supply itself leads to the expansion of Apple's price negotiating power, even if there is not a lot of volume. Apple is expected to demand a reduction in the iPhone OLED panel price while determining the quantity and price of OLED iPad panels to be produced by Samsung Display from next year. The price offered by the BOE to Apple is used as Apple's negotiating card.
Apple is currently reportedly going through the approval process with the BOE almost every month. As the approval process repeats, BOE can improve the technology according to Apple's needs. Basically, it is a problem that can only be done if technology is the basis, but trial and error can be reduced with BOE. BOE is known to have suffered difficulties in the characteristics of light emitting materials and touch electrodes in the OLED approval process for iPhone 13 in the first half of the year. After that, supplementary procedures were carried out, such as replacing the luminescent material.
Samsung Display and LG Display are expected to continue their efforts to maintain the technological gap with BOE. In addition to the 6-inch iPhone OLED, the company is currently developing technologies and equipment focusing on areas where OLED applications are expected, such as 10-inch or larger iPads and iMacs.
Meanwhile, LG Display's LTPO technology is also expected to influence the final decision on the TFT method for next year's 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus model. Since Apple also has to consider profitability, there is no need to apply LTPO to the three models in the iPhone 14 series if LG Display cannot supply LTPO-type iPhone OLED stably. Only Samsung Display supplied the LTPO panel, which was first applied to the iPhone 13 top lineup this year. LTPO is an advantageous technology to support a refresh rate of 120 Hz (Hz).
If LG Display experiences difficulties in the LTPO method, only the proportion of Samsung Display, which Apple is trying to reduce its dependence on, may increase. Although LG Display failed to supply LTPO-type panels to the iPhone 13 series this year, it participated in the development of new products. It was a preparatory measure to supply LTPO-type panels to next year's iPhone 14 series.