After years of legal procedures, Apple and Samsung have reached an agreement in the infamous patent case. Terms of the settlement were undisclosed. So is everything clear between Samsung and Apple? Not so fast, as Bloomberg reports that Apple wants to use OLED displays from LG to reduce its dependence on Samsung.
You might remember that Apple first sued Samsung for copying the design of the iPhone with early Samsung Galaxy phones. The first trial led to an Apple victory. Samsung had to pay $1 billion.
But the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office later invalidated one of Apple’s patents. It led to multiple retrials and appeals, and the Supreme Court even had to rule at some point.
After many years, Samsung ended up owing $539 million to Apple. According to Reuters, Samsung has already paid $399 million.
If you look closely at the original case, it feels like it happened many decades ago. At some point, the Samsung Galaxy S 4G, the Nexus S and a few other devices looked a lot like the iPhone 3G.
But now, it’s hard to say that Samsung is copying Apple. For instance, Samsung is one of the only phone manufacturers that hasn’t switched to a notch design. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and the rest of the product lineup still features a rectangular display. Huawei, LG, OnePlus, Asus and countless of others sell devices with a notch.
That could be the reason why it seems weird to spend all this money on legal fees for things that are no longer true.
And yet, the irony is that Apple and Samsung are the perfect example of asymmetric competition. They both sell smartphones, laptops and other electronics devices. But they also work together on various projects.
In particular, the iPhone X is the first iPhone with an OLED display. It’s a better display technology compared to traditional LCD displays. It’s also one of the most expensive components of the iPhone X.
According to Bloomberg, Apple wants to find a second supplier to drive component prices down. And that second supplier is LG.
LG already manufactures OLED displays. But it’s difficult to meet Apple’s demands when it comes to the iPhone. Apple sells tens of millions of smartphones every year. So you need to have a great supply chain to be able to become an Apple supplier. LG could be ramping up its production capacity for future iPhone models.
According to multiple rumors, Apple plans to ship an updated iPhone X with an OLED display as well as a bigger iPhone. The company could also introduce another phone with an edge-to-edge LCD display with a notch and a cheaper price.
There’s one thing for sure — it’ll take time to switch the entire iPhone lineup to OLED displays.