Samsung Display is set to begin production of OLED panels for this year’s stable of iPhones as soon as next month, according to a new report.
The South Korean tech giant will begin manufacturing OLED displays in May, with an expected of 2 to 3 million panels. Samsung then plans to double its production capacity to 4 to 6 million units around June, Taiwan-based Economic Daily News reported on Monday.
Those OLED panels will likely end up in this year’s iPhone X successor, as well as a new iPhone X Plus device with a 6.5-inch OLED display. Rounding out the three-phone lineup will be a midrange, 6.1-inch iPhone with a traditional LCD display.
As the report points out, this rumored production timeline is unusual in that it’s slightly ahead of schedule. Previously, reports suggested that Samsung would open its production lines closed to the end of June.
It’s likely that Apple is ordering production earlier to mitigate or do away with any OLED-related supply problems this year. Producing these displays is difficult, and OLED panels were one of the factors that contributed to constrained supplies of Apple’s flagship iPhone X last year.
Along with Samsung’s earlier schedule, Apple has also resolved many of the other production issues that it ran into with the iPhone X. Combined with rumors that LG has also been tapped to produce OLED panels for Apple, these reports suggest that all three iPhones this year could be released simultaneously and on-schedule.
On the other hand, the Economic Daily News reported that the demand for certain components will be much greater than this same period last year. One thing that comes to mind is the launch of two OLED-based iPhones, rather than one in 2017. The fact that all three could go on sale at the same time is likely also a contributor to increased component demand.
The report also doubled-down on the rumor that this year’s iPhone X could be about $100 cheaper than its 2017 predecessor. It might retail at $899, with the larger iPhone X Plus taking the previous $999 price slot and the midrange device coming in at $799.
Of course, take these price forecasts with a grain of salt. We won’t know how much the 2018 iPhone lineup will retail for until they launch sometime this fall.