Although many report have pegged Samsung to be the sole supplier of OLED displays for the upcoming iPhone 8, Apple is actively working toward reducing its reliance on supply from the Korea-based tech giant.
According to a new report from DigiTimes, Apple has purchased chemical vapor deposition (CVD) machines from Sunic Systems in Korea.
While the report claims that Apple is “eagerly developing” its own OLED technology and is purchasing that equipment for itself to accomplish that goal, that seems improbable as Apple has never built its own screens for any device it has ever made.
CVD machines are not widely available and the report says that most of the current output is dominated by one Japanese company, Canon Tokki, which passes on the majority of its capacity to Samsung Display.
By buying its own CVD machines, Apple could open the OLED supply chain to more manufacturers by letting them use its own CVD machinery for the production of Apple devices, like iPhones and Apple Watch models.
DigiTimes says this move will “break the dominant position held by Japan-based Canon Kokki in the CVD machinery market,” as the Japanese firm sold its CVD machines to Samsung and LG, which in turn supply their OLED panels to the likes of Google, Xiaomi, and indeed Apple itself.
Although previous reports suggest that Apple’s partnership with Samsung may continue throughout next year, when the Cupertino-company is widely expected to introduce three iPhone models featuring OLED displays, Apple is taking a decisive step toward diversifying supply beyond its Korean tech rival.