Apple is investing $2.7 billion (or 3 trillion Korean Won) in LG Display's OLED plant in order to secure supplies for future iPhones. Google has already invested around $880 million in April to secure OLED panels from LG Display and it could increase its investment further to get confirmed supply of panels for its second-generation Pixel smartphones.
According to The Korea Herald, Apple's investment will come as an advance payment and LG Display will supply 30,000 OLED panels every month. It also reports that LG's display division plans to manufacture 45,000 units of its sixth-generation OLED panel every month. With the investment in LG Display, Apple has reportedly secured a second supplier of OLED panels for future iPhones. The investment details come just a week after reports emerged that Apple is developing its own in-house OLED technology for use on future iPhones.
In a separate report, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities says that "OLED panel has been the single most troublesome component for Apple" and an addition of another supplier will help the company get rid of supply issues for its 2018 iPhone lineup. Most reports suggest that Apple will switch to OLED display for all its models in 2018.
Apple is expected to introduce an OLED iPhone alongside iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus in September. Most analysts suggest that Apple's OLED iPhone won't be available until the end of October or early November due to supply constraints with an OLED display panel. Samsung Display with over 90 percent OLED panel market share is the sole supplier for Apple's 2017 iPhone. Kuo also says that LG might collaborate with GIS for improved lamination and also integrate with Foxconn for improved yield rate. Neither Apple nor LG Display has confirmed the investment but it seems likely considering the switch to OLED panel made by every other smartphone maker.