Industry insiders are claiming that Samsung Display has agreed to a deal with Apple to make flexible OLED displays for the iPhone 7. Samsung Display is reportedly reaching out to multiple display technology companies in South Korea to acquire the resources and technology required to fulfill such a massive order from Apple.
The deal will see Samsung invest up to $7.47 billion in additional plant and equipment facilities to meet the demand. The value of the deal with Apple has not yet been publicly disclosed. Production is expected to begin in Q1, 2016 and extend into 2017. The output of flexible OLED panels will reportedly range between 30,000 to 45,000 panels a month.
iPhones up till this point have always used LCD displays. The Apple Watch is the first Apple device to use a flexible OLED screen, so putting them on iPhones isn’t a complete surprise. Nor is asking Samsung to provide them. Not only is it no secret that Samsung makes the best OLED displays in the market, Samsung already supplies multiple components for the iPhone, including the A9 processor.
While the move could be seen as aiding the enemy, Samsung’s component business has been the crutch holding up a flailing mobile division recently. Chips, displays and RAM are the major cash cows for the South Korean company in the mobile space, not handset sales, so a lucrative deal to supply components for a device as popular as the iPhone could mean a major windfall for the company.