BOE nearly dropped from iPhone OLED panels supply chain due to design changes


BOE is one of the manufacturers responsible for supplying OLED panels for the 6.1-inch model of the iPhone 13. But ever since February, the company hasn’t made iPhone OLED panels for Apple. Here’s why.

According to a report by The Elec, there are two reasons. The first one was the shortage of display drive ICs. LX Semicon supplies to BOE, which is supplying more to LG Display, said sources familiar with the matter.

In April, 9to5Mac already pointed out this issue. Apple had hoped that Chinese display manufacturer BOE would be able to make as many as 40M iPhone displays in 2022, but a shortage of display driver chips saw the goal reduced to 30M.

In addition, the most likely reason why BOE hasn’t made any other OLED panels for the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 is that “the panel maker likely changed the design of the OLED panels, such as expanding the circuit width of the thin-film transistor, and this was discovered by Apple, the sources added.”

Although this caused the iPhone OLED maker to halt production, it’s unlikely that Apple will exclude BOE from its panel supply chain.

It is more advantageous for Apple to keep BOE as a supplier to pressure Samsung Display and LG Display to cut their OLED panel unit prices.

Despite the dip in production volume, the sources said BOE’s B11 factory, which manufactures OLED panels for iPhones, at Sichuan was still operating.

It’s also unclear how this issue caused by BOE will impact its goal to produce the iPhone 15 Pro OLED panels, as Samsung is said to be the only supplier for the iPhone 14 Pro panels. It’s important to note that BOE supplied 15 million to 16 million units of OLED panels for iPhones in 2021, while it was planning to supply up to 60 million units this year – which is not going to happen.

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