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BOE gets another chance to supply panels to Apple for the iPhone 14

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You may remember the story of the Chinese glass manufacturer BOE. The company wanted so badly to become an iPhone supplier and started to work its way up. First, it supplied replacement OLED panels for units that required new glass. That gave Apple the confidence to allow BOE to supply some iPhone 12 units, and reportedly gave the company the ability to supply Apple with up to 40 million screens for a variety of iPhone models.

To improve production yields, BOE unilaterally changed the specifications of the 6.1-inch panels it was building

BOE hoped to supply 30 million OLED panels to Apple for the 6.1-inch iPhone 14. But the company decided to make unilateral changes to the panel’s specifications without notifying Apple. BOO reportedly changed the width of the thin film transistors used on the panels without letting Tim Cook — or anyone from Apple — sign. We will discuss in a few paragraphs the likely reason why this was done.

The glassmaker’s actions had pushed the company so far outside 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 there’s no glass on that product. has been used, which is kind of our point.

But in this time of supply chain shortages, Apple decided to forgive, if not forget. According to ITHome (through AppleInsiderBOE’s panels were said to have been certified by Apple last week, and volume production (or mass production if you prefer) of the panels is set to begin before the end of this month. Apple should start receiving shipments in September, the same month in which the new iPhone 14 series is expected to be introduced.
Of the 90 million panels for the iPhone 14 series that Apple reportedly ordered 60 million from Samsung Display and 25 million from LG Display. That leaves BOE to supply 5 million screens to Apple. That’s a low number considering how many units of the iPhone 14 Apple plans to build. But it looks like Apple is auditioning BOE 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 let BOE hang out

And in typical Apple fashion, it’s actually beneficial for Apple to let BOE hang out. It keeps both Samsung and LG fair when it comes to pricing, as both companies see another potential OLED supplier lurking in the background, poised to give Apple a better deal on iPhone displays.

You might want to know why BOE messed up the specs for the iPhone 14 panels it was building. Apparently, the company reported low yields, meaning a large number of the panels it was building failed to pass QC or quality control tests. Making the width of the film transistors thicker made the panels easier to manufacture and increased yields.

Unfortunately for BOE, Apple discovered the ruse and couldn’t be tricked. This makes us wonder what the Chinese manufacturer’s endgame was, or even if it had one. Apple would definitely discover the change eventually. When Apple found out what had happened, BOE sent what it described as a “C-level” executive to Cupertino in an attempt to explain what had happened and ask for forgiveness from Apple, which it apparently received.

BOE may not be supplying Apple with as many OLED panels as it would have liked, and it’s being watched very closely. However, BOE is still in the game and may produce more panels next year when Apple releases a newly designed 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 premium iPhone 14 Pro Max.

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