Apple is having second thoughts about its relationship with Samsung.
The tech giant is close to inking a deal with LG Display for the company to supply OLED screens for its iPhone X and upcoming smartphones this year, Bloomberg is reporting, citing sources. Initially, LG Display will supply Apple with 2 million to 4 million OLED units and then could expand that as time goes on.
Apple only offers one OLED-based iPhone in the iPhone X. The device's screens are all produced by Samsung Display. While Samsung Display has proven itself to be adept at building OLEDs, it creates some problems for Apple.
For one, Samsung is its chief competitor in the smartphone market and the Korean tech giant takes a chunk of revenue on every iPhone Apple sells.
Secondly, Apple's reliance upon a single company means Samsung Display has all the leverage in their relationship. By bringing on LG Display, Apple can start to put price pressure on Samsung Display and potentially get a better deal.
According to Bloomberg's sources, Apple was forced to offer the iPhone X at $999 last year because of the high cost of the smartphone screen. By reducing the OLED panel's price, it could make it more palatable for Apple to bring the iPhone X price down. The timing might be right.
According to several reports, Apple is planning three new iPhones for this year. The cheapest of the bunch could come with a 6.1-inch LCD screen. The other two are expected to ship with OLED displays. The iPhone X-2 will likely be identical to the iPhone X, but come with improved performance. An iPhone X Plus could offer a screen size of 6.5 inches.
In order to secure a deal, Apple and LG Display need two separate approvals from the companies, according to the Bloomberg report. LG Display is hoping to be the sole supplier for this year's iPhone X update, but Apple is unsure whether LG Display could handle the demand.