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The iPhone OLED supply chain in 2022


23 June, 2022 | David Hsieh


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The new iPhone 14 series, an evolution of the iPhone 13 models released last year, is expected to launch in 3Q22. Samsung Display, LG Display, and BOE supplied flexible OLED panels for the iPhone 13. 

The iPhone 14, 14 Pro, 14 Plus, and 14 Max Pro will have different sizes and resolutions from the previous iPhone 13 series. The screen size and resolution changes are because of the new user interface design—Apple is expected to put two special hole designs in the form factor of the iPhone Max and Max Pro series. 

Omdia estimates the size and resolution of the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max to change because of the introduction of the two-hole form factor. The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus will retain the same size and resolution as the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max because of the same notch form factor. In 2023, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus will follow with the same size and resolution as the 2022 iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models. 

Figure 1 shows Omdia’s estimates of the iPhone display evolution. Eventually, all iPhone series will have the same pixel per inch (PPI). 

1. Figure 1: Evolution of the iPhone OLED display

Figure 1 Evolution of the iPhone OLED display

Source: Omdia

2. Figure 2: Differences between the iPhone 14’s notch design and two-hole design

Figure 2 Differences between the iPhone 14s notch design and two-hole design

Source: Omdia

In the future, smartphone displays may be equipped with an under-panel Face ID system. Face ID currently uses a structured light technology module, which includes a projected light pattern, infrared CMOS image sensor (CIS), and vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL). If the module is under the display, the module cannot project the light pattern onto the face due to the display barrier. Here, the time-of-flight (ToF) or light detection and ranging (lidar) modules can be used. 

The ToF module needs a single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD)-based CIS and a specific light pattern. Its wavelength must be more than 940nm, which is the current usage; otherwise, light cannot penetrate the OLED display. The appropriate material for this special module needs to be developed now. 

Thus, an under-panel Face ID may not be achievable in the short term, and iPhones should retain the two-hole design for the next few years. 

Samsung Display, LG Display, and BOE are the three suppliers providing flexible OLED displays, similar to the iPhone 13 series era. Samsung Display remains the largest provider, supplying across all iPhone 14 models. LG Display and BOE have changed their supply strategy—LG Display will focus on both LTPS and LTPO models, while BOE will focus on the smaller-sized LTPS model. 

Table 1 and Table 2 show a comparison of the 2021 and 2022 iPhone OLED supply chains.

Table 1: The iPhone 13 series OLED supply chain in 2021

Table 1 The iPhone 13 series OLED supply chain in 2021

Table 2 The iPhone 14 series OLED supply chain in 2022

Table 3 Omdias estimates of the iPhone OLED panel shipment percentage

Omdia estimates that in 2022, Apple will purchase 205 million units of flexible OLED from Samsung Display, LG Display, and BOE (see Table 3). Samsung Display will supply 135 million units across all iPhone, iPhone Pro, iPhone Plus, and iPhone Pro Max displays. LG Display will supply 50 million units to the iPhone 12, 13, 14, and 14 Pro Max models, while BOE will supply to the iPhone 12, 13 and 14.

Author:

David Hsieh, Senior Research Director

David Hsieh is an expert in the TFT LCD, OLED, LCD TV, and smartphone display value chain for mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. David is head of the Displays team and oversees the division’s end-to-end research on displays, covering the supply chain, materials, components, supply and demand dynamics, pricing, cost modeling, revenue and shipment forecasts, and emerging technologies. Read bio

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