Apple negotiating with Samsung Display for OLED panel price reduction

“Apple is reportedly negotiating with Samsung Display for a reduction of the price of OLED panels as the iPhone X vendor is seeking to lower the production cost in order to ramp up sales of OLED-based models, according to industry sources,” Rebecca Kuo and Steve Shen report for Digitimes.

“The request for price reductions comes as no surprise to the industry as the OLED panel accounts for about one-third of the total production cost of an iPhone X and has been pinpointed as a key factor contributing to the lackluster sales of Apple’s first OLED model, said the sources,” Kuo and Shen report.

MacDailyNews Take: As per “lackluster sales” and repeating lies until people believe them:

iPhone X was the best-selling smartphone in the world in the December quarter according to Canalys, and it has been our top selling phone every week since it launched. iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus rounded out the top three iPhones in the quarter. In fact, revenue for our newly launched iPhones was the highest of any lineup in our history, driving total Apple revenue above our guidance range… The iPhone X was the most popular and that’s particularly noteworthy given that we didn’t start shipping until early November, and we’re constrained for a while. The team did a great job of getting into supply demand balance there in December. But since the launch of iPhone X, it has been the most popular iPhone every week, every week sales. And that is even through today, actually through January… We feel fantastic, particularly as it pertains to iPhone X. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, February 1, 2018

“Apple is likely to purchase up to 100 million OLED panels from Samsung Display in 2018, with 25 million to be used by the current iPhone X and the remaining 75 million for the next-generation OLED models to be launched in 2018 – one being a 5.8-inch model and another a 6.5-inch one, indicated the sources,” Kuo and Shen report. “Apple bought about 50 million OLED panels from Samsung Display in 2017, the sources added.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We won’t know for sure until we see this quarter’s (Apple’s fiscal Q218) results in May, since iPhone sales actually did increase YOY when you compare apples to apples, as opposed to comparing the 13-week 2017 holiday quarter to a 14-week 2016 holiday quarter and calling it a “decline,” when it wasn’t.

Apple’s iPhone X isn’t selling well – or is it? – April 21, 2018
Apple’s iPhone X to be discontinued this year, analyst claims – April 20, 2018
Morgan Stanley: Apple stock may fall on ‘materially’ weaker iPhone sales – April 20, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to unveil two 6.1-inch LCD iPhones this year; one budget-priced at just $550, another with dual-SIM capability – April 18, 2018
Apple’s iPhone captured 86% of global handset profits in Q417; iPhone X alone took 35% of global handset profits – April 17, 2018
Bernstein: Ams AG is biggest winner in Apple’s TrueDepth Camera system – April 10, 2018
Apple’s iPhone X is the UK’s most popular smartphone – April 9, 2018
Apple to release Q218 earnings, webcast live conference call on May 1st – April 3, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple’s next-gen 6.1-inch LCD iPhone to outsell next-gen 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED iPhone X models – February 5, 2018


  1. Well, I hope Apple isn’t negotiating for a price increase from Samsung. However, until OLEDs can be sourced (in massive quantities) by LG or other manufacturers, the negotiating is gonna be tough. That’s business.

  2. From what I’ve heard about Apple negotiating with every supplier, Apple always tries to negotiate the lowest possible price, and then a lower price the following year.

    This report just seems like business as usual for Apple.

    1. It is business as usual for any large manufacturer. The difference is that some manufacturers are very disciplined about whom they do business and how that relationship is managed. Apple has chosen to associate with “frenemies”, literally supporting their competition. In another Tim Cook case of following the puck three years late, Apple has cultivated no alternatives for many critical components and continues to rely heavily on Samsung to produce not just the X, but almost any of Apple’s products.

      If you were Samsung and had the richest company on the planet begging to use your OLED displays and chips and memory and hard drives etc — what reason would you have to cut Apple a special deal? Apple has absolutely no leverage for phone sized OLED displays and everyone knows it.

  3. The only real way Apple can negotiate this is to work out a long multi year deal. Samsung knows that Apple is attempting to use other suppliers, such as LG. They also know that LG is failing at improving the quality and quantity of their phone OLED production. There is no other supplier with even a chance of supplying Apple with a significant percentage of displays in the near future (the next year or two).

    So this is a hard negotiation for Apple. It’s all about supply and demand, after all. Samsung has to spend a lot of money to expand their OLED production, and you know that they will bring that up to Apple.

    As much as I wish it otherwise, I don’t see Apple being in a good place in these negotiations. I’ve been there myself with my own companies, on both sides.

    1. A clause for a guaranteed minimum unit purchase will probably be part of the agreement so that display suppliers are not left holding the bag should Apple suddenly reduce order shipments drastically at some point.

  4. Tim is not managing that data point of the supply chain called Samsung very well. How many years has he had to cut out that stinkin’ rat scum? Yeah, yeah; I know that one can’t squeeze blood from a rock,…or can one?

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