Apple will partner with LG Display to develop foldable displays for iPhones in the future. Why did Apple choose LG over Samsung?
About two years ago, the mobile phone market opened a new wave of folding screens, with brands such as Samsung and Huawei appearing in turn. Consumers can experience the charm of folding screen phones as long as they are ready to hook the sack. And manufacturers such as Xiaomi, although they have not yet launched an officially listed folding screen model, they have also launched some concept products. Among the major mobile phone manufacturers there is no claim of a folding screen, and currently only Apple is the only one.
A few days ago, according to DigiTimes, news from the supply chain said LG was assisting Apple in developing a folding screen iPhone.
Therefore, for folding screen products, Apple may already have preliminary plans inside and are trying.
The success of Apple products is inseparable from the global market. There are hundreds of providers behind the different components used in the iPhone. Emerging products such as folding screens require inseparable higher screen technology supported by background plate manufacturers. However, among so many options, why does Apple appreciate LG? When LCD screens became popular in the early years, one of the main sources of iPhone panels was LG; after the release of the iPhone X, the iPhone screen material gradually switched to OLED, and the supplier became Samsung. However, for products such as the Apple Watch, LG remains an important supplier of panels, in addition to Apple and LG also have close cooperation in battery technology, the L-shaped battery can take full advantage of the precious space inside the iPhone from LG. In fact, LG, as a major electronics manufacturer in South Korea, has been an important supplier to Apple since very early on.
On the one hand, LG has a profound accumulation and strong power in the supply chain of panels and batteries, which can meet Apple’s requirements; On the other hand, LG has been an important supplier of Apple ever since and both parties have long-term stability and good cooperation. From this perspective, it is not so difficult to understand why Apple chose LG as a partner for the research and development of folding screens.
However, these may just be superficial reasons, the more profound one may be because LG and Apple do not have fundamental conflicts of interest.
As an integrated electronics corporation somewhat similar to Samsung, LG’s business, in addition to panels and batteries, also has a business for ordinary consumers such as mobile phones and TVs. In theory, LG has a competitive relationship with Apple in products such as mobile phones.
But in fact, LG’s phone business is deteriorating, its presence in the phone industry is increasingly low.
Statistics from Counterpoint, LG’s global mobile market share in 2019 is only 2%. There has even been news that LG’s mobile phone business has lost US$4.5 billion over the past five years.
In January this year, the LG CEO announced that the smartphone business would face major adjustments. In this regard, many people think that LG’s phone business will likely meet the fate of selling cheaply.
It is worth mentioning that LG is also currently showcasing a variety of scroll screen solutions, including a patent with a flip-out scrolling screen design similar to the Mate X. At CES this year, LG also unveiled the LG Rollable scroll screen mobile in the promotional film. However, these mass-produced product solutions are not more likely to salvage the LG mobile phone business. After all, if folding screen phones can really become trendy, LG, as a manufacturer of flexible panels, can also profit from market expansion.
Can Apple make the next iPhone X?
Therefore, if Apple and LG achieve cooperation on mobile phone research and development, there will be no direct conflicts of interest. In contrast, Samsung mobile phones remain strongly present in the global market and have been put on trial by Apple for copying the design of the iPhone. Samsung is currently an important partner of Apple, but also a strong competitor; therefore, the relationship between LG and Apple will definitely be healthier.
At the product level, the iPhone X achieves many breakthroughs: full-screen design, OLED screen, Face ID, wireless charging. These are the first features that appear on the iPhone. On a commercial level, the iPhone X allows Apple’s mobile phone prices to continue to rise and penetrate into the higher-end market, which is more profitable for Apple.iPhone products in recent years have remained based on the iPhone X 2017 in design and there has been no essential change in design. Now looking back, as a 10th anniversary product, the iPhone X is apple’s most successful mobile phone.
According to Sohu reviews, the 5G-equipped iPhone 12 has achieved positive sales growth, but in terms of existing product positioning and the global market situation, Apple’s mobile phones are experiencing a growth bottleneck.
Folding screen mobiles show a more “premium” form of product, which can help manufacturers break through the market positioning of existing products and dominate the higher-end market. For Apple, if the folding screen iPhone succeeds, it will be able to open new market segments on the basis of existing products, whether to enhance the brand image or increase the revenue channel, which is beneficial.
However, in today’s technical conditions, folding screen mobiles still have a lot of problems to solve. Even without taking into account the high cost, battery life, weight, thickness, screen and other aspects of the experience, folding screens still cannot please most people.
Based on existing information, the cooperation in developing folding screen mobile phones between Apple and LG is still only a preliminary test. Earlier, Apple also registered several patents for folding screen mobile phones. But overall, the research and development of Apple’s folding screen mobile phones is still in its in its inaubtal stages. According to Apple’s motto, Apple will not basically launch under-grown products, and officially listed products must be mature electronic consumer products that meet the needs of consumers.
Folding screen is a solution explored by the phone industry to break the screen size limit, and it is likely to lead the trend of mobile phone design in the future. Therefore, Apple will not give up this path, but also do not rush to mass production before the available product meets the standard.
However, relying on the advantages of its fore ahead and ecological advantages, Apple’s dominance in the mobile phone industry remains un breakable. For folding screen products, Apple does not need to implement aggressive product strategies, just get ready and wait for the opportunity to enter when the market is ripe. The rise of Apple is inseparable from the advent of the iPhone and the rapid development of the smartphone industry. Apple has been a leader in the mobile phone industry, whether product design, technology or functionality, which has been the object of imitation by competitors. But in terms of the situation in recent years, Apple is behind in terms of product level, with fast charging, full screen, camera and even folding screen, and it can be said that the iPhone is half a beat slower than its Android rivals.