You might remember the story of Chinese glass manufacturer BOE. The company wanted to be an iPhone supplier so badly and it started working its way up the ladder. First, it supplied replacement OLED panels for units in need of new glass. That gave Apple the confidence to allow BOE to supply some iPhone 12 units and supposedly the company was given the opportunity to supply Apple with up to 40 million displays for a variety of iPhone models.

Seeking to improve its production yields, BOE unilaterally changed the specs on the 6.1-inch panels it was building

BOE was hoping to supply Apple with 30 million OLED panels for the 6.1-inch iPhone 14.. But the company decided to make unilateral changes to the panel’s specs without informing Apple. BOE reportedly changed the width of the thin-film transistors used on the panels without getting Tim Cook-or anyone from Apple-to sign off on it. We will discuss the probable reason why this was done in a few paragraphs.

The glass manufacturer’s actions could have left the company booted so far out of Apple’s supply chain that Apple probably wouldn’t even allow BOE to supply the glass for its $19 Polishing Cloth. Yes, we know that there is no glass used on that product which is kind of our point.

But in this day and age of supply chain shortages, Apple decided to forgive if not forget. According to ITHome (via AppleInsider) BOE’s panels supposedly received certification by Apple last week and volume production (or mass production if you prefer that better) of the panels will begin before the end of this month. Apple should start receiving the shipments in September, the same month when the new iPhone 14 series is expected to be introduced.
Of the 90 million panels for the iPhone 14 series that Apple has allegedly ordered, 60 million should arrive from Samsung Display, and 25 million should arrive from LG Display. That leaves BOE to deliver 5 million displays to Apple. That is a low number considering how many units of the iPhone 14 Apple plans on building. But it seems that Apple is giving BOE an audition to see if it can be trusted as a potential source of screens for future iPhone units.

Apple still gets something out of its decision to keep BOE hanging around

And in typical Apple fashion, keeping BOE hanging around is actually advantageous to Apple. It keeps both Samsung and LG honest when it comes to pricing since both of those companies see that there is still another possible OLED supplier lurking in the background ready to give Apple a better deal on iPhone displays.

You might want to know why BOE screwed with the specs for the iPhone 14 panels that it was building. Apparently, the company was reporting low yields which means that a large number of the panels it was building could not pass QC or quality control tests. By making the width of the film transistors thicker, the panels became easier to produce and the yield rate was moving higher.

Unfortunately for BOE, Apple discovered the ruse and could not be hoodwinked. This makes us wonder what the Chinese manufacturer’s end game was, or even if it had one. Apple was sure to discover the change eventually. When Apple did discover what had occurred, BOE sent what was described as a “C-level” executive to Cupertino in an attempt to explain what had happened and to ask for Apple’s forgiveness, which it apparently did receive.

BOE may not be providing Apple with as many OLED panels as it would have liked, and it is being watched very closely. However, BOE is still in the game and may get to produce more panels next year when Apple releases what could very well be a redesigned iPhone 15 line.

The upcoming Apple iPhone 14 series is expected to include a 6.1-inch iPhone 14, a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max, a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro, and the top-of-the-line iPhone 14 Pro Max.

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Published: 2022-07-07 03:27:47 ,

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