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Chinese display manufacturer BOE has been given the go-ahead for iPhone 14 screen production, despite having been caught cheating by Apple.
The company changed the specs of the displays it was making for the iPhone 13, but this was detected by the Cupertino company – which ordered BOE to cease production. Apple’s reason for the change of heart may be a cynical one …Background
Apple has always liked to have multiple suppliers for as many components as possible. This is partly for risk management: If one supplier has a problem, Apple can ask others to ramp up production to fill the gap. But it’s also to give the company even more power when it comes to price negotiations – it can threaten to transfer orders to a rival if a supplier won’t come down to the desired price.
Samsung Display has the most sophisticated OLED manufacturing capabilities, which is why it has sometimes been the sole supplier for certain iPhone screens. Fellow Korean company LG has long been Apple’s secondary supplier.
BOE has for years been a third supplier of displays for Apple’s older LCD iPhones, but only started making OLED panels for Apple as of the iPhone 12. It was on track to pick up orders for 30-40M iPhones this year.
All that looked like it might be lost when the company quietly changed the specs of the OLED panels it was supplying to Apple for the 6.1-inch model of the iPhone 13. It looked for a time like this might cost the company its iPhone 14 orders.iPhone 14 screen reprieve for BOE
However, it seems Apple forgave the company, as it was last month allowed to resume production of screens for the iPhone 13, and seemed to be back in the running for iPhone 14 orders.
After the controversy with the iPhone 13 OLED panels, “executives of the Chinese company visited Cupertino to explain the situation to Apple and receive approval for OLED panels aimed at iPhone 14.” The publication sources say BOE will supply around 5 million units at most given its recent debacle with the panels for the iPhone 13.
IT Home today confirms that BOE has been given this approval.Apple likely has a cynical reason
The company is not known for a forgiving attitude when it comes to suppliers that don’t play by the rules, and secretly loosening the specs was a major offense. So it was somewhat surprising to see BOE so quickly forgiven.
However, Apple likely has a cynical reason for this: It wants to keep BOE in the mix to improve its negotiating position with Samsung and LG.
From the production volume estimates seen, BOE is being given a far smaller number of orders than was expected – almost a token amount. That suggests Apple is punishing the company while still using it as a bargaining chip for its primary orders.More on the iPhone 14
This year, we’re expecting very visible differences in the displays, between the standard and Pro models. The former are expected to stick to the existing notch design, while the two Pro models are likely to have “hole-punch and pill” cutouts for the camera and Face ID array.
The best bet for the iPhone 14 keynote is September 13.
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