A news report from South Korean newspaper ET News has stated that Apple is considering Samsung Display as another potential supplier for OLED flexible panels used in the Apple Watch moving into 2015.
Currently, LG Display is the sole provider for the device, which is expected to have initial shipment volume of about 4 million when it hits stores in April. However, in a bid to produce price competition from the two makers in order to drop overall costs for the Apple Watch, Apple is reportedly opening the floor to other providers, with Samsung as its top choice due to the company’s long-standing history of OLED production.
Apple has at large cut ties with Samsung over the last few years due to legal complications largely related to patent infringements. Relations between the two companies have turned sour and Apple as a result has focused more on LG Display for providing panel displays for most of its devices.
Apple’s move however seems to indicate that it would be willing to rekindle those relations provided Samsung offers competitive pricing for flexible OLED displays. OLED is expected to hold a 75% share in flexible display shipments during 2015 due to its advantages in flexibility during production, the report said.
Samsung Display on the other hand may be attempting to spur its OLED panel business after falling in 2014 due to less-than-expected orders from Samsung Electronics. Samsung meanwhile is also expanding production for OLED and needs to secure buyers to push forth its products.
The report went on to say that Apple will most likely expand its lineup of Apple watches at the end of 2015, and may even announce additional models at its yearly event in the fourth quarter of the year. Going into 2016 will be a major year for smart watches according to many market observers and Apple doesn’t want to put all of its eggs into one basket, the report speculated.
Unlike other market estimations that stated the Apple Watch will reach over 40 million in shipments during 2015, the report quoted sources from supply chain makers at around 15 million followed by an estimated 60 million in 2015. Samsung would most likely be responsible for supplying minimal shipments at the end of 2015 and further bump up its share in 2016.
Apple has been relatively quiet so far about how it plans to incorporate the Watch into its overall ecosystem and has mainly focused on specialized niches such as exercise. There are many reports indicating that one model of the Watch will cost over $5,000 as part of Apple’s high-end products, which many observers are calling it the “ultimate Apple class status”.
Smart watches meanwhile represent the next move in the mobile world and software developers along with content makers are going to have to pay special attention to the devices as many consumers could potentially use them to replace other smart devices. Consumers can expect to see manufacturers ramp out new models in mass volume throughout 2015 and prevail in the market during 2016.