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Apple loses LG as a supplier for LCD iPhone displays

The iPhone SE (2020). (Source: NBC)
The iPhone SE (2020). (Source: NBC)
The days of LCD-only iPhones are numbered; however, a handful of these models are still in production. However, it now seems they will have to do without screens from LG for the rest of their manufacturing runs. The company has dropped Apple as a customer for mobile LCD panels, leaving it scrambling for other suppliers to complete new SE (2020) units.

The iPhone SE (2020) owes its affordable appeal in part to being the latest Apple device to launch with a "Liquid Retina" IPS-LCD display. There is a good chance that those buying existing units of this device get one with a panel made by LG. However, thanks to a rather abrupt decision by this OEM's Display division, there are now no more coming.

According to TheElec, the Korean electronics and components manufacturer has reportedly cancelled its agreement to supply Apple with LCD panels for mobile devices. This, apparently, leaves the OEM in the lurch when it comes to making new SE (2020) units, and has forced it to turn to alternative vendors Sharp and JDI instead. 

The iPhone 11 is also LCD and remains to be discontinued; however, the new report does not cover what happens to that flagship variant from now on. However, it does mention that LG's decision is not so much connected to its rumored exit from the smartphone market as it is to the lack of profit in making non-OLED mobile screens these days.

Then again, LG LCD panels will still exist, albeit as in-car screens only from now on. They will be of the 20-inch or bigger LTPS TFT variety only, as it seems smaller ones are (again) not making money for its Display arm any more. Similarly, it is reportedly getting out of the amorphous-silicon (aSi) LCD business due to competition from other companies such as BOE and AU Optronics.

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Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-01-22 (Update: 2021-01-23)