LG Display will be supplying low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) thin-film transistor (TFT) OLED panels for Apple’s iPhones launching next year, TheElec has learned.
Winning the order for LTPO TFT OLED from Cupertino, despite the volume being small, is critical for the South Korean panel maker as it will allow it to maintain an edge over Chinese rival BOE, which is aggressively looking to expand its share in Apple’s OLED panel supply chain.
LTPO TFT supports 120Hz refresh rate and is an advanced technology that smartphone makers apply to their premium OLED panels for premium smartphones.
Samsung Display, which dominates the supply of OLED panels to Apple, provided the LTPO TFT OLED panel used in the Pro models of the iPhone 13 series this year.
In 2022, LG Display will also be supplying some of the LTPO TFT OLED panels used by Apple for the 6.68-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Still, Samsung Display will be supplying more units of LTPO TFT OLED panels used in the Pro Max model, while it will be the sole supplier of LTPO TFT OLED panels used in the 6.06-inch iPhone 14 Pro.
LG Display failed to win any LTPO OLED panel orders for iPhone 13, but it did take part in the development of the panels with Apple.
Meanwhile, BOE is also developing its own LTPO TFT technology but is yet to commercialize them.
The Chinese display giant has so far supplied only low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) TFT OLED panels, which is less advanced than LTPO TFT, for iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 series launching next year. It will also only be supplying 6.06-inch panel size.
The addition of LG Display as a supplier of LTPO TFT OLED is an advantage Apple can use to reduce reliance on Samsung Display and to get leverage in price negotiations.
LG Display will also be supplying the LTPO TFT OLED panels with hole-in display technology, where there is a hole at the top side of the panel for the front camera.
The company uses parts of its AP4 line at its P9 factory in Paju, South Korea for the LTPO TFT process.
The panel-in-production is then moved to the E6 line where it deposits the organic material to complete the LTPO TFT OLED panel.
These are the same steps and facility its LTPS TFT OLED panels take, so LG Display will be supplying less of them to Apple next year due to LTPO TFT OLED panel taking some of the space.