LG once rivaled Samsung as a key supplier of iPhone screens, and Apple benefited from having two companies able to meet both technical and volume requirements.
The two suppliers provided redundancy in Apple’s supply chain, as well as giving the company negotiating strength when it came to allocating orders to the two companies.
LG is also used to supply OLED displays used in iPhone 12 lineup. But now it looks likes LG has broken ties with Apple and will no longer Provide LCDs to the tech giant and plans to move forward and make vehicle displays.
The factory which made the LCD screens is reportedly being repurposed to make display panels for cars. LG is the current market leader in automobile displays of nine inches or larger.
Why did LG break ties with Apple?
According to a report from The Elec, the LCD line for iPhone was not making a profit for LG, and considering this the company has decided to shut down the iPhone LCD screen production. The report suggests that the shutdown was held in the third quarter of 2020. Lately, LG stopped producing LCDs for all smartphones by the end of last quarter and it seems that the company has its plans.
Apple also shifted its entire iPhone line up on OLED displays in late 2020. Only the iPhone SE was the one that was released with an LCD. Apple deals with multiple suppliers for its iPhone displays but Samsung is the major supplier for OLED display and rests LG makes it for Apple.
What will be Apple’s next move?
Apple has also tried other display manufacturers like BOE for OLED display. It seems that the company run into production quality issues with the OLED panels and Apple didn’t rely on them, as per the supply chain report.
A recent report, suggests that Apple is relying on Sharp and JDI for LCD panels supply for now. Japan Display and Sharp are also in the queue to supply displays to Apple.
Meanwhile, LG will repurpose its LCD facilities and start making low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) thin-film transistors (TFT), which are used in the vehicle for touch screen display.