Apple could be in the final stages of certifying OLED screens from Chinese manufacturer BOE for the purpose of putting them into 2020’s iPhones as a supplier.
A report from Nikkei claims that Apple is currently in the final stages of testing the OLED displays, meaning that Apple could be picking up panels from China for its iPhones for the first time ever.
Currently, Apple buys its iPhone screens from Samsung, one of its biggest direct competitors in the mobile space. Relying on one supplier for your high-end tech product isn’t ideal, and this goes double when they’re also manufacturing a product that’s competing directly which is… super not ideal.
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There’s a potential perk for consumers too: Nikkei is reporting that a source “familiar with the discussions” has suggested that BOE’s panels could be some 20 percent cheaper than Samsung’s offerings. This spending could be passed on to consumers, providing a discount on the eye-watering price an iPhone currently goes for.
You know, if Apple wants to save people some money. Your mileage may vary on that one. Reportedly, Apple will be making a call on whether they’ll use BOE as a supplier by the end of the year, although we might not hear about it until they’re ready to show off their 2020 phones.
It’s a risk though. Samsung are the leaders in the space, but embattled president Donald Trump has made several moves against Chinese companies, ostensibly to protect US industry. If Trump decides to increase tariffs on Chinese goods or even that BOE can’t do business with American companies, Apple’s potential new suppliers could become a liability. Having a business rely on the whims of politics is somewhat unfortunate, especially as the deal could face problems without any involvement from Apple or BOE.
We’ll find out more when Apple shows off their 2020 model iPhone.