Samsung has seemingly clinched a dominant position in the supply of OLED displays for this year’s iPhone 15, as Chinese manufacturer BOE encountered yet another setback in obtaining formal approval from Apple for mass-producing the required OLED panels.
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BOE, initially designated to supply OLED displays for both the standard iPhone 15 and the larger iPhone 15 Plus, faced delays in securing Apple’s conditional approval in March. These delays were attributed to issues related to light leakage around the OLED display’s area where the pill and hole cutouts accommodate the True Depth camera and Face ID components.
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The challenges proved to be insurmountable, leading Apple to ultimately cancel BOE’s order, thereby causing BOE to miss its opportunity to become one of the primary suppliers. According to reports from Korea’s ETNews, the allocation originally intended for BOE has been redirected to Samsung Display.
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While LG Display has secured conditional approval for providing OLED panels to both iPhone 15 Pro models, the green light for the iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected later this month. As things stand, Samsung Display is currently the exclusive supplier of OLED panels for all four iPhone 15 models, resulting in significantly larger production volumes than initially planned.
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Consequently, Samsung is ramping up orders for related materials and components, increasing its orders for September and October by 20% compared to August.
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For the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models, Samsung is providing low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) thin-film transistor (TFT) panels. This implies that these more affordable models will continue to lack Pro Motion support and the always-on display feature found in Apple’s Pro models.
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On the other hand, the higher-tier iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models feature low-temperature polycrystalline (LTPO) TFT OLED panels. These LTPO panels boast 120Hz Pro Motion support and a 1Hz refresh rate capability that enables the Lock Screen to remain visible during idle periods with minimal impact on battery life.
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In addition to the expected arrival of Dynamic Island technology in the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, there have been rumors suggesting that all iPhone 15 models may come equipped with a more power-efficient OLED display driver chip manufactured using a 28nm process. This could lead to reduced power consumption and potentially improved battery life across the entire iPhone 15 lineup.
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While the iPhone 15 Pro models are anticipated to feature enhanced battery life, thanks to the inclusion of a faster A17 chip built on the new 3-nanometer production process, it remains uncertain whether a new display driver contributes to the Pro models’ enhanced power efficiency.
Regarding BOE, an unnamed industry insider cited by ETNews expressed uncertainty about the manufacturer’s quality approval in 2023. Even if approved, only limited quantities are likely to be allocated this year due to Samsung’s dominance in the OLED display supply chain for Apple.