Apple may also drop Samsung, LG as partners

The iPhone maker is planning to start using its own custom displays in its mobile devices as early as 2024.
11 January 2023

Apple may also drop Samsung, LG as partners for in-house components instead. (Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small / AFP)

Apple Inc, the world’s most valuable tech company, has been undertaking a sweeping effort to replace its third-party components with homegrown parts instead. Its path to self-sufficiency has so far resulted in the tech giant dropping Intel Corp. chips in its Mac computers in favor of in-house designs. This week, TechHQ reported that Broadcom and Qualcomm too may soon lose Apple as clients since the company has been working on making its own custom 5G modem and chips for its iPhones.

While it may seem like Apple is approaching its undertaking gradually, the company is not done yet in its pursuit of more control over the design and capabilities of its products. Another update by Bloomberg this week indicates that Apple is planning to even start using its own custom displays in mobile devices as early as next year. The update would mean the tech giant reducing its reliance on partners like Samsung and LG.

Apple vs Samsung, LG and others

Apparently, Apple’s screen switch has been underway for years as Bloomberg first reported in 2018 on the company’s plan to design its own displays, starting with the Apple Watch. The recent update signals that the company aims to begin by swapping out the display in the highest-end Apple Watches by the end of next year.

Apparently, the screens upgrade the current OLED — organic light-emitting diode — standard to a technology called microLED, and Apple plans to eventually bring the displays to other devices, including the iPhone. Inevitably, the move will deal a blow to Samsung Display Co. and LG Display Co., the two main suppliers of the watch’s screens. 

“Apple’s project is being led by Wei Chen, who runs Apple’s display technology group within Johny Srouji’s Hardware Technologies division. The company has begun testing the microLED displays on an update to the Apple Watch Ultra, its new high-end sports watch,” the Bloomberg report said. Compared with current Apple Watches, the next-generation displays are designed to offer brighter, more vibrant colors and the ability to be better seen at an angle. 

“The displays make content appear like it’s painted on top of the glass, according to people who have seen them, who asked not to be identified because the project is still under wraps,” Bloomberg noted. For context, the microLED displays will be Apple’s first screens designed and developed entirely in-house. At the moment, in addition to Samsung and LG, the company also sources screens from a range of manufacturers, including Japan Display Inc, Sharp Corp. and BOE Technology Group Co.

“Apple accounts for 36% of LG Display’s revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Samsung, which competes with Apple in the smartphone market in addition to serving as a supplier, gets about 6.6% of its sales from the iPhone maker,” the report stated. Apple is expected to rely on an outside supplier to handle mass production of its new displays, although design and devising of the manufacturing process will remain in-house.