Apple last week finally unveiled its new 2020 iPhone lineup, which includes four models, the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Two of the four iPhones came up for preorder last Friday and are set to ship this week, with the other two arriving in early November.
The arrival of the new iPhones follows nearly a year of speculation about the supply chain for the new phones, and what it means for this year’s lineup. That happens every year, but this year it was a little different, with the coronavirus pandemic leading to speculation that the iPhone lineup could be delayed. The phones, which normally arrive in September, did indeed hit the market later than usual.
Another bit of speculation dealt with who would be supplying the OLED panels for this year’s iPhones. The screens have typically come from Samsung, which became the exclusive provider when Apple switched to OLED a few years ago, but reports earlier this year stated that Samsung would be joined in the iPhone supplier lineup by LG and BOE.
In June, however, it was reported that BOE’s panels had failed a test at Apple’s supply assessment stage, and would not be included in the lineup at least at the start.
Now, a new report states the BOE is back on board as an iPhone supplier.
According to Digitimes, BOE will “reportedly will start shipping 6.1-inch OLED panels, albeit in small volume, for the just released iPhone 12 in the second half of October.” The report also said that BOE will possibly ramp up shipments throughout 2021.
The reports in the summer had stated that BOE and LG would be supplying panels for the iPhone 12 Max, but the Digitimes report indicates those screens are for the iPhone 12.
BOE was already making OLED panels for smartphones produced by the controversial Chinese manufacturer Huawei.
Meanwhile, analyst Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities provided an update this week on the Asia supply chain, as iPhone shipments have begun this week.
“The initial reads are very bullish and give us incremental confidence in our supercycle thesis on iPhone 12,” Ives wrote. “We now believe the supply chain is anticipating 80 million iPhone 12’s for the initial launch period with potentially a stretch goal in the mid 80’s for units. To put this in context, heading into last week we were anticipating 75 million units as the line in the sand and roughly a month ago this number was in the 65 million to 70 million range.”
Another top Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities, reported this week that there were between 1.7 million and 2 million preorders of the iPhone 12 in the first twenty-four hours, which more than doubled the preorder numbers of the iPhone 11 last year.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.