Next year, Samsung Display will supply flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels for the iPhone, which will be up to four times more than this year to Apple.
According to the display industry on December 19, Samsung Display has set the number of flexible OLEDs for iPhone to supply to Apple next year from about 180 million units to 200 million units. Samsung’s related partners for parts and materials are also preparing their supply volume according to Samsung’s volume.
Flexible OLED panels supplied by Samsung Display for the iPhone X this year are estimated at over 50 million units. New lines in A3 Plant began to operate one after another this year and all of them began to run in the fourth quarter. A3 Plant is said to supply up to 105,000 panels per month to Apple.
In the first place, Samsung Display pondered over a plan to deal with orders from Apple by investing in a new plant (tentatively called A5) but seems to have concluded that the existing lines will be able to supply volume to Apple next year. This is because production lines invested in last year and this year started to operate and Samsung Display scaled up production volume by raising the A3 yield significantly from the fourth quarter of 2017. At the beginning of the year, the yield of A3 Plant remained around 60%, but the yield seems to have topped 80% in the second half of the year. "The yield of Samsung Display’s A3 reached 90%, I believe." an industry source said.
If Samsung produces 105,000 units of 6G panels per month, 6-inch panels produced in a year will total 249.48 million units. The yield of 90% will translate into production of about 242 million units. Even though actual supplies will be different considering actual panel sizes, utilization rates, and supply periods, it can be understood that Samsung Display will be able to manage to supply enough OLED volume for the iPhone to Apple with its existing production capacity next year.
Market researcher IHS Markit estimated the unit price of an OLED display including the prices of cover glass and a touch sensor at US$110. If it is applied, sales of OLEDs for the iPhone will reach between US$19.8 billion and US$22 billion.
Securities analysts say that sales of Samsung Display's quarterly small- and medium-sized OLEDs will top 10 trillion won (US$9 billion) next year. LCD sales were forecast to remain at two trillion won (US$1.8 billion) in the fourth quarter. But they forecast that OLED sales would stay at the low or middle parts of the 10 trillion won (US$9 billion) level each quarter.