The percentage of each iPhone made in the U.S. may increase, claims a new report, suggesting that manufacturer Foxconn’s proposed Wisconsin factory will be used for producing small and medium-sized LCD — and possibly eventually OLED — smartphone displays.
That’s a change in strategy from the original plan, which reportedly focused on large-sized displays for televisions and monitors. Foxconn allegedly made the decision due to cost considerations.
However, it’s not clear what percentage of the new displays will be for Apple. Although sources suggest that “Foxconn’s new facility would still aim to supply Apple’s iPhones” right now there are plenty of rival manufacturers in the mix. Although the Foxconn-owned Sharp makes 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhone displays, LG Display and Japan Display have a large part of this business as well.
A U.S. facility may help Foxconn embrace OLED manufacturing, though. This is something that Apple is going to rely on more for future iPhone models, at least for the foreseeable future. The Nikkei report writes that:
“A facility focusing on small-to-medium panels would also serve as a foundation once Foxconn is ready to produce its organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, displays, and wants to bring that into mass production in the U.S., sources said. OLED technology needs to be built on the current low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) LCDs, which are widely used for screens for mobile phones such as the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.”
At present, the OLED displays for iPhones are produced by Samsung.
Foxconn’s plans in the U.S.
Foxconn’s facility in Wisconsin is set to be a sprawling $10 billion, 1,000 acre campus. The facility is on track to open in 2020, but could potentially open before then. It will ultimately create around 13,000 local jobs. Wisconsin’s state Assembly voted last August to approve a bill offering Foxconn a $3 billion incentive package for its new plant.
Foxconn’s decision to move to the U.S. is linked with President Donald Trump’s bid to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. The manufacturing giant has also said that producing displays in the United States will save money on shipping from China.