Apple might pump billions into LG for OLED displays

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iPhone 7
The iPhone 7 launched in to positive reviews in2016.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple will cough up 3 billion won (approx. $2.7 billion) for exclusivity over LG Display’s new OLED production facility, according to a new report.

It’s thought Samsung has been tasked with manufacturing displays for this year’s iPhone 8, but Apple’s big investment could mean all future handsets use LG panels.

Apple’s adoption of OLED displays for the iPhone will be slow, largely thanks to the fact that it’s currently difficult for the company to obtain enough units to serve its entire smartphone lineup. But that’s going to change.

Rumors claim iPhone 8 will get an OLED display first, kickstarting an OLED revolution. Display-makers are already investing billions in the technology in anticipation of a mass migration from LCD panels. One of those is LG Display.

The South Korean company is in the process of setting up a new production facility that will cost around $3.5 billion. A new report from Korea Economic Daily, via The Investor, claims Apple will pay $2.7 billion of that to ensure it is the plant’s only customer.

“Sources say the two firms still remain mum on the funding plans possibly due to Apple’s partnership with Samsung Display, the sole supplier for the first OLED iPhone that will debut later this year,” reads the report.

“With the renewed partnership with LG, its long-time LCD partner, Apple has secured a secondary supplier for the crucial OLED panel, while the Korean partner can reduce risks from the huge initial spending on beefing up its OLED production.”

It’s believed the plant will eventually churn out around 30,000 OLED displays specifically for the iPhone every month when it reaches full capacity.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Apple could invest in LG for exclusive access to its OLED displays. The same claims were made by The Korea Herald earlier this month, at which point the investment figure was thought to be between 2 billion and 3 billion won.