Three display firms are talking to Apple about supplying the iPhone SE 4 with OLED panels

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Three display firms are talking to Apple about supplying the iPhone SE 4 with OLED panels
Even after Apple switched to an OLED display for the iPhone back in 2017 with the iPhone X, the tech giant continued to source LCD panels for its "budget" handset, the iPhone SE. But this is going to change as there is speculation that the fourth-generation iPhone SE will borrow its design from the iPhone 16. With this in mind, The Elec says today that Apple has received pricing information for the OLED panels from Samsung Display, BOE, and Tianma.

According to those in the "know," the price proposal from Samsung Display was the lowest with a $30 quote for each unit. BOE was next as the firm is asking Apple to pay $35 for each panel, and Tianma is seeking $40 for each OLED panel. However, Apple is trying to get one of these companies to supply them with OLED displays for $20 per unit and the negotiations will continue. 

The pricing is lower than what Apple pays for the iPhone 15's OLED screen since the iPhone SE 4 is expected to use legacy technology and recycled parts. It appears that the panel will be the same one used on the iPhone 14 in 2022 and the iPhone 13 in 2021. Both of those phones sport a 6.1-inch panel as does the iPhone 15. This also is a reason for the lowered pricing since the display suppliers won't have to invest in research & development as they would to produce a panel that was never used before.


Samsung Display does have a huge advantage over the other suppliers since it already has inventory of the iPhone 14's 6.1-inch OLED panel which means it can take care of orders from Apple for the iPhone SE 4 faster than its rivals. While Samsung Display and BOE have been able to obtain good yields while producing the panels, Tianma is behind both companies when it comes to the technology and experience required to produce the important component.

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Realistically, the battle is between Samsung Display and BOE, and the former can undercut BOE with its pricing because it is making some big profits supplying the OLED panels for the iPhone 15 series and later this year it will deliver the panels for the iPhone 16 line. BOE has yet to turn a profit delivering OLED panels to Apple and desperately needs to win more business supplying Apple for the iPhone SE 4.

Last year, BOE had an opportunity to ramp up its production of OLED panels for the iPhone 15, but the company had problems producing the Dynamic Island cutout for the panels to be used on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. As a result, Samsung Display had to step in and take over for BOE. Unless the latter drops its pricing to match Apple's $20 per unit demand, which seems unlikely considering the red ink it has already spilled supplying panels for Apple, we'd expect Samsung Display to be awarded the majority of the business.

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