China-Based BOE to Supply OLED Panels for iPhone 13 Models

Apple has added display manufacturer BOE to its list of main suppliers of OLED panels for iPhone 13 models, according to a new report today from Nikkei Asia.

The Beijing-based display maker began shipping a small number of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays for the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 in late September and is scheduled to increase those shipments soon, pending a final verification process, multiple people familiar with the matter said.

The final qualification will focus on the durability of the screens and will wrap up as early as this month, according to sources who spoke to Nikkei.

“It is in the process of final testing, but based on the results of earlier samples, BOE should have no problem passing the tests,” an executive-level source with direct knowledge of the matter told Nikkei Asia. “The foundation of the collaboration between Apple and BOE is based on their previous project on the iPhone 12, and both Apple and BOE want this to happen soon.”

Multiple iPhone 12 rumors suggested that BOE would supply some panels for the devices, but BOE ran into major production problems. In 2020, BOE failed to deliver its first shipment of OLED panels to Apple as displays created by BOE failed validation tests.

Initially, China’s largest display maker will provide screens only for the more affordable 6.1-inch ‌iPhone 13‌ model. BOE will initially split orders for the ‌iPhone 13‌ displays with Samsung. BOE’s share is expected to account for up to 20% of the total, but ideally the Chinese company wants to make up to 40% of orders for this model. BOE previously only supplied OLEDs for repaired and refurbished iPhones. It also makes LCD screens for Apple’s iPads.

The development adds to pressure on LG Display and particularly Samsung, which has dominated the supply of OLEDs for iPhones since 2017. As the report notes, adding a third manufacturer will give Apple greater bargaining power in talks with the South Korean suppliers.

The OLED displays for the ‌iPhone 13‌ will be made at BOE’s Mian Yang complex in Sichuan Province, where it makes OLED screens for Chinese smartphone makers Huawei, Honor, Xiaomi, and Vivo. BOE has been prioritized by the local government for power supply amid unexpected shortages.

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