Apple suppliers are investing tens of millions of dollars into the production of flexible printed circuit boards to meet inevitably strong demand for an iPhone 8 with an OLED display.
Samsung Electro-Mechanics is reportedly expanding its production plant in Vietnam at a cost of $88 million, while Interflex is expected to make a similar investment later this year to ensure steady supply.
Apple will reportedly task three suppliers — Samsung, Interflex and BH — with the production of iPhone 8 FPCBs, which are used to connect the display as well as all of the handset’s internal components, such processor, camera and storage.
As things stand, Samsung produces the fewest number of boards, with its production capacity at around 90,000 square meters per month, according to The Investor. However, that figure will almost double after Samsung’s big plant expansion.
Interflex produces around 295,000 square meters of board every month across three plants in China, Vietnam and Korea. BH has increased its production capacity to 220,000 square meters for iPhone 8 following its own expansion at a plant in Vietnam.
In line with an earlier report out of Japan, The Investor claims that Apple will produce around 60 million OLED iPhone units this year, which will make up around 40 percent of total shipments. It’s thought the rest of the iPhone 8 lineup will retain LCD panels.
The OLED display will be supposedly be curved and measure around 5.8 inches diagonally. Some of that space is likely to be taken up by a new “function area” (aka a mini Touch Bar) that will replace the physical Home button. About 5.15 inches will be used for the primary screen.
The Investor adds that Apple plans to use OLED in all iPhone models by 2019.