A recent report suggests that LG is struggling to supply iPhone 11 OLEDS due to Apple’s higher scrutiny of LG prototypes – making the production of the upcoming phone more difficult than expected.
This new report comes courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, with a byline of Yoko Kubota in Beijing and Takashi Mochizuki in Tokyo, with additional credit for Tripp Mickle in San Fransisco. Many have called the validity of this report into question due to some rather bizarre claims, but if it’s true it means that the production of iPhone 11 OLEDS may be in trouble as we move closer to the release date.
The current sole supplier of the iPhone 11 OLEDS is rumored to be Samsung, but Apple has been looking for a second supplier in order to keep up with the no-doubt incredible demand for the upcoming phone – set to release this fall.
If this report turns out to be true, it’s not exactly unexpected given LG’s previous track record, With the iPhone 11 OLEDS production taking a similar path to what we saw in previous generations. It’s no secret that LG has struggled to produce OLEDS with the same speed, efficiency, and quality that we saw from Samsung – perhaps lending credence to the suggestion that the company is having trouble measuring up to the production standards of the iPhone 11 OLEDS. Last fall, Google shipped two different Pixel 2 models – one from HTC with a Samsung display and the other from LG with an LG display. While both had some serious OLED screen issues that many fans are still disappointed with, the LG “XL” model had some very serious flaws – calling into question the ability of LG to handle the standards required of the iPhone 11 OLEDS. There’s no doubt that Apple is keenly aware of the failings of the Google Pixel 2, and they definitely don’t want to deal with a similar misstep with the release of the iPhone 11.
The inability of LG to produce iPhone 11 OLEDS to the standards required may cause problems for iPhone 11 production, as mentioned above. While Apple did manage to ship the iPhone X with only one OLED supplier, they dealt with a serious lack of stock in the beginning of the release – on top of the fact that the iPhone X was released later than the iPhone 8 to begin with. Rumors suggest that LG would be responsible for around 20 percent of the iPhone 11 OLEDS, with Samsung making up the rest of the devices’ screen technology. While LG by no means had a majority of the phones slated for production as their responsibility, 20 percent is still a significant portion of the upcoming products and it could be a major roadblock for Apple moving forward if they’ve already made the decision to trust LG with iPhone 11 OLEDS.
Apple frequently makes changes to its suppliers based on cost, capacity, and competence, so it’s certainly possible that LG will get the boot if they’re having trouble keeping up with iPhone 11 OLEDS production, although its difficult to determine whether or not Apple is truly dropping LG as information regarding suppliers ahead of an official announcement has been notoriously unreliable in the past.
In addition to the new news regarding the LG production of iPhone 11 OLEDS, the new information also suggests that being the single source for these screens may give Samsung higher pricing power – an occurrence that we’ve already seen in other areas where Samsung has helped manufacture memory and other phone components.
Where the report may have made some undue assumptions, however, stating that Samsung’s monopoly on the OLED market may be “one reason for the iPhone X’s steep $999 price tag,” and that, “the price turned off some customers, causing demand to fall short of expectations and forcing Apple to cut orders for parts.”
While it’s true that the iPhone X didn’t sell quite as well as expected, it still managed to become the fastest selling iPhone in history – with demand outstripping supply in the early days of the launch. For this reason, the validity of the report has been called into question as the suggestions don’t exactly seem to line up with reality. However, while the information regarding the iPhone X price may have been conjecture, that doesn’t necessarily discount the idea of LG having trouble producing the iPhone 11 OLEDS.
We’ll have to wait until we get closer to the actual launch to figure out whether this news regarding the manufacture of iPhone 11 OLEDS is true or if it’s just another unfounded rumor. If Samsung, once again, ends up being the sole supplier for the iPhone 11 screens, however, it will certainly give them a significant amount of leverage over Apple.