Apple’s iPhone SE 4 May Use OLED Screens From a Chinese Supplier, Not Samsung or LG

Zakhi Mgutshini
Mar 7, 2023
Updated • Mar 7, 2023
Apple, Mobile Computing

Samsung has been the major supplier of screens for Apple products and various components for years. Despite them being competitive in the smartphone and tablet market Samsung and Apple have had a business relationship in the supply chain.

Apple’s iPhone SE 4 May Use OLED Screens From a Chinese Supplier, Not Samsung or LG

In recent years Apple has had a new supplier Beijing Oriental Electronics (BOE) and they have had what I call a rough patch. It all started in 2020 when some of the BOE screens made for the iPhone 12 reportedly failed the quality tests. Currently, BOE failed to produce the iPhone 15 screens to Apple’s specifications after previously securing a deal to make the  6.1 inch OLEDs for the iPhone 14. Instead, rumors have it that BOE  will continue to supply the 6.1-inch OLEDs for the next budget iPhone. 

The LCD panels to be used for the 2022 iPhone SE are supposed to be replaced by 6.1-inch OLED screens from the Chinese supplier. It is a well-known fact that the Chinese supplier has had a very complicated relationship with Apple but despite all these mishaps the two companies decided to work together for much longer. It is rumored that they will only continue to supply Apple with their display screens while Apple is working on its own display tech department. Having a display tech department at Apple will mean the company will stop relying on its outsourced display maker and rival Samsung. 

Apparently, Samsung gets away with things that no other apple components suppliers dreams of. Apple engineers aren't allowed to access Samsung’s facilities and they also refuse to replace screens identified by Apple as having minor flaws. 

The only great news out of this story is that BOE won’t be losing out on their existing parts in inventory as the SE is likely to use an older OLED design. This isn’t great news for Apple as they’re trying to their dependence on Samsung for displays. According to The Information, this displays the amount of power that Samsung has over Apple as one of its screen manufacturers that produces mass high-end OLEDs to its specifications.

iPhone SE 4 to Use OLED Screens from a Chinese Supplier

As much as cutting ties with Samsung may seem like a solution at the moment it's likely to be a few more years before this could become a reality. If apple will get its micro-led production off the ground it is likely to start small and use the Tech in much smaller components such as its watches first. According to The Elec the modern LTPO OLEDs that Samsung makes for the iPhone 14 and possibly the 15 cost twice the amount as the OLEDs the SE is supposed to use. Meanwhile, Samsung isn't losing any sleep over the iPhone SE order being given to its competitors.

Could things change in a few years to come?  We can never rule that out as a possibility in the meanwhile Samsung is likely to continue to produce display screens for high-end iPhones seeing as BOE is failing to meet the desired standard. 


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