Why Samsung and Apple’s X-class iPhone OLED screens are too expensive to fix

The costs to replace the following smartphone screens:

• Apple iPhone 8: $80 at both the repair shop and iFixit (tools included), $150 through Apple
• Google Pixel 3 XL: $270 from the repair shop, $170 at iFixit
• Samsung Galaxy S10: $250 at the repair shop, iFixit doesn’t have it in stock yet

“Why the huge price jump for the Pixel and Galaxy? The iPhone 8 has an LCD screen, while the Pixel 3 XL and Galaxy S10 have AMOLED (sometimes shortened to OLED) screens, both made by Samsung,” Kevin Purdy writes for iFixit. “The Korean mega-company dominates the world of OLED displays, especially in mobile devices, and so it has a big hand in the pricing of repair parts, too.

“OLED displays are complicated, delicate creatures. OLED displays contain an ultra-thin layer of organic matter, sheathed between charged plates, and any exposure to moisture, oxygen, or damage can kill them completely,” Purdy writes. “Without a marketplace of refurbished parts, only new parts can suffice, and only one company makes new OLEDs for most phones.”

“If Apple could buy OLED phone displays from anybody else, they probably would. But Samsung controls 95 percent of the smartphone OLED manufacturing market, so they can charge whatever they please,” Purdy writes. “Analysts estimated at the launch of the iPhone X that Samsung charged Apple between $110 and $130 per OLED panel. That might have added up to $22 billion Apple paid to a company that was a leading opponent in Steve Job’s ‘thermonuclear war’ against Android.”

“Competition is on the way,” Purdy writes. “Japan Display Inc captured an Apple Watch OLED contract, and wants to put $900 million into its own OLED factory. Chinese companies, backed by their government, are looking to catch up quick. In the meantime, however, Samsung can still decide how much people should pay for one of its screens.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The only thing that solves this is some true competition in the OLED display market. Maybe LG can up their game. We wouldn’t hold your breath on Japan Display; it’s been an unprofitable money pit for years.

Rescue of Apple supplier Japan Display leaves Japan red-faced – April 15, 2019
Apple supplier Japan Display agrees to $2.1 billion bailout – April 12, 2019
Apple supplier Japan Display wins $640 million from government-backed fund to boost OLED tech as Apple eyes new iPhone display – December 21, 2016
Apple’s next-gen flagship OLED iPhone is codenamed ‘Ferrari’ – December 20, 2016
Apple says OLED finally ready for iPhones, but most suppliers still aren’t – November 17, 2016
Apple supplier Japan Display seeks $703 million bailout from Japanese government – November 11, 2016
Sharp President confirms Apple iPhone transition to OLED displays – October 31, 2016
Apple supplier Sharp names Foxconn exec as CEO to spearhead revival – May 12, 2016
Apple supplier Sharp preps AMOLED displays after Foxconn acquisition – April 6, 2016
Did Apple help Foxconn buy Sharp? – March 31, 2016
Japan Display, an Apple iPhone supplier, seeks financial help from Japanese government – August 9, 2016
Japan Display CEO hints at strong Apple orders ahead of new iPhone launch – September 3, 2015
Japan Display and Apple to build new $1.4 billion plant for iPhone Retina displays – March 6, 2015
Japan Display’s reliance on iPhone orders rises – June 24, 2014


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