According to The Elec, Apple has instructed the Chinese company BOE to stop producing OLED panels for the iPhone 13 series smartphones. The most likely reason is problems in the supply chain, due to which BOE had to look for replacements for already approved components.
The Chinese display maker makes OLED panels for the iPhone 12 and 13, but BOE has only produced a handful of iPhone panels since February. The main reason was the lack of integrated circuits to control displays previously purchased from LX Semicon. The latter decided to supply more LG Display products at BOE’s expense.
According to some reports, the most likely cause is the size of the chip BOE used as a replacement, which Apple identified and found unacceptable. However, it doesn’t appear that Cupertino intends to completely cut the Chinese panel maker from the supply chain. According to experts, Apple is interested in maintaining cooperation with the Chinese manufacturer in order to put pressure on Samsung Display and LG Display in setting the price of the panels they supply. In addition, the Chinese company will also reportedly supply panels for the iPhone 14.
Despite the drop in production, the BOE B11 plant in Sichuan, which made panels for the iPhone, is said to be still operational.
Earlier this year, Samsung Display, which makes OLED panels for Apple, announced its intention to use its patents to protect OLED business interests. It is possible that Apple has warned BOE about the emerging problem, for which the latter is now creating a technological workaround. It is known that Samsung Display is the first company to commercialize OLED technologies for smartphones. It owns the most significant patents related to the technology, including the pixel structure itself and other fundamental solutions.