Apple is always looking to diversify its suppliers; this helps to improve existing technologies and make them less expensive. This time, TCL’s subsidiary CSOT wants to enter Apple’s LCD supply chain for upcoming Macs and iPads.
According to a report by The Elec, TCL chairman Li Dongsheng is expected to visit Apple Park very soon. He wants to win the supply orders for LCD panels made by CSOT for iPads and MacBooks.
The publication says that CSOT is a “fierce competitor” to BOE in the global LCD market, but the company is ahead of CSOT in LCD panels for notebooks, tablets, and monitors as well as with the OLED technology for smartphones.
BOE, as you probably know, has for years been a third supplier of displays for Apple’s older LCD iPhones, but only started making OLED panels for Apple as of the iPhone 12. It was on track to pick up orders for 30-40M iPhones this year. It will also be responsible for around five million units of iPhone 14 OLED panels.
Not only that, but BOE is also supplying LCD panels to Apple for MacBooks and iPads. Analyst firm Omdia says the Chinese company will be the largest supplier of LCD panels for iPad this year.
Here’s what else The Elec reports:
CSOT also formed a team during the first half of the year to review building an OLED production line aimed at iPhones. CSOT’s expansion plan will, besides BOE, also threaten South Korean display maker LG Display, which leads the supply of LCD panels to Apple for high-end devices.
LG Display is expected to supply 14.8 million LCD panels to Apple for MacBooks this year, according to Omdia, making its share in this specific supply chain 55%. Having another competitor in the supply chain like CSOT could add pressure on LG Display to cut unit prices.
If things turn out to be right for TCL, CSOT could start producing LCD panels in 2023 or 2024 for new MacBooks and iPads.
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