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Samsung Display is increasing its production capabilities, possibly to meet the high levels of demand from Apple’s OLED panel orders, according to a new supply chain report.
The South Korean company has already broken ground on two “A5” display production facilities at newly established sites in Cheonan and Asan, both located in the South Chungcheong province of the country. Altogether, with construction and OLED fabrication equipment, both plants will cost Samsung roughly $21 billion. When finished, the plants should be able to produce between 180,000 and 270,000 OLED display panels per month, according to supply chain sources cited by ET News.
The new facilities will help Samsung meet demand both from smartphone manufacturers and the expected mass-production of 10-inch foldable displays, the South Korean publication reported. Presumably, many of the OLED panels will end up being shipped to Apple for use in Cupertino’s upcoming iPhone 8. Earlier this year, Apple and Samsung inked a deal which would see the latter company supplying roughly 160 million OLED display panels for Apple’s 2017 flagship.
Samsung Display is currently the world’s largest supplier of OLED panels and is largely expected to be the sole supplier for this year’s iPhone 8. But Apple is apparently looking to diversify its supply sources, reportedly pushing LG to ramp-up production of small- and medium-sized OLED displays, according to an April Business Korea report. Notably, LG is the primary supplier of small OLED panels for the Apple Watch.
This year’s premium iPhone 8 is slated to be the first Apple flagship to make the switch to OLED displays, resulting in better battery life, higher pixel density and more vibrant colors for the handset. The iPhone 8’s display is also expected to have an edge-to-edge, bezel-free design, taking up the entire front face of the smartphone. Reportedly, Apple will also do away with the analog Home button, replacing it with a “Function Area” and possibly a display-embedded Touch ID sensor.