Apple reaches deal with Samsung to buy OLED iPhone displays

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Apple gets by with a little help from its frenemies.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Samsung: you can’t live with ’em, you can’t make iPhones without ’em, a new report reveals.

Apple has reportedly brokered a deal with its long-time South Korean “frenemy” to provide OLED panels for a future iPhone, scheduled to ship in 2017.

According to the alleged terms of the deal, Samsung Display will supply in the region of 100 million 5.5-inch OLED panels annually, with the value being estimated at $2.59 billion. Samsung bosses have refused to confirm the deal for privacy reasons.

Samsung, a leader in OLED display research and AMOLED production, was previously reported as being “on the fast track” to building a dedicated facility for supplying displays to Apple. Samsung Display took up 23 percent of global display shipments in 2015 for screens smaller than 9 inches.

In doing so, it is trailed by Japan Display (with 16 percent) and LG Display (with 14 percent.) Both of these companies will also provide OLED displays to Apple in smaller quantities.

While not mentioned in the Korea Herald‘s report, another rival to Samsung is also likely to be Sharp, which was recently acquired by Apple manufacturer Foxconn. The main impetus Foxconn acquired the money-losing Sharp is reportedly so that it can compete in the OLED display market.

Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has previously tried to get Apple to lessen its dependency on Samsung, specifically by telling other Taiwanese manufacturers they need to work together to counter the Samsung threat.

Still, anyone who has seen one of Samsung’s new Galaxy S7 handsets will appreciate that — no matter what the company’s other faults — they sure can build a nice display!

Are you excited about an OLED iPhone after all these years? Leave your comments below.