Apple is in talks with its exclusive OLED display supplier, Samsung Display Co., in a bid to lower costs associated with this year’s iPhone X-styled successors, according to a DigiTimes report published on Tuesday.
DigiTimes asserts that Apple is hoping to “reduce the overall production cost” of this year’s OLED-equipped iPhone models, as the company looks to “ramp up sales.”
According to earlier reports spearheaded by Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is expected to release three flagship iPhones this year, including a 5.8-inch OLED-equipped iPhone X successor, a larger 6.5-inch OLED-equipped handset currently known as iPhone X Plus, and a 6.1-inch mid-range handset boasting an LCD display and Face ID in lieu of Touch ID.
“Apple is requiring the Korea display vendor to lower the unit price of its OLED panels to US $100, down from the US $110 in 2017,” sources indicated.
DigiTimes’ sources went on to say that Apple may purchase up to 100 million OLED panels from Samsung Display in 2018 with approximately 25 million of them destined for the company’s “current iPhone X,” and the rest to be divvied up among the new 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED models. It’s worth noting that previous reports have indicated Apple’s intentions of discontinuing the current iPhone X this fall — though it’s expected the current flagship will be replaced by an updated 5.8-inch model as mentioned.
Despite previous estimates that Apple purchased as many as 80-100 million OLED panels from Samsung in 2017, sources noted that the Cupertino-company in fact purchased around 50 million — though this could be due to a reported reduction in orders as a result of less than anticipated demand for the tech-giant’s thousand-dollar iPhone X.
Still, Apple’s request for a price reduction — even of just $10 per panel — comes as little surprise given that the OLED display is one of iPhone X’s single-most costly components aside from the $68 TrueDepth camera system.
It might appear as if Apple’s move to negotiate lower OLED display costs will come at the benefit of lower-cost iPhones, however this outcome is unlikely the case. Rather, as DigiTimes sources indicated, Apple merely seems interested in reducing its overall production expenditures — though it would only be by about $10 per unit, if today’s numbers are accurate.
Still, there’s reason to believe that in a bid to bolster sales, Apple will reduce the overall cost of its upcoming iPhone flagships allowing more consumers the opportunity to afford them. In a recent memo to investors penned by RBC analyst, Amit Daryanani, it was speculated that Apple could reduce the cost of this year’s 5.8-inch iPhone X replacement by $100 — offering a base-model for just $899 as opposed to $999, while this year’s base-model ‘iPhone X Plus’ could retail for just $999..
This much remains to be seen, of course, and only time will tell how Apple plans to sell more high-end iPhones in 2018 than it did in 2017. Meanwhile, consumers looking to adopt some (but not all) of Apple’s latest technologies will be pleased to know the aforementioned 6.1-inch iPhone boasting an LCD display and Face ID may be available this fall for as low as $550.