According to Korean language news site Naver, LG Display (LGD) will be the sole supplier of flexible OLED displays for Apple’s iWatch. LGD will be supplying two sizes (1.3″ and 1.5″) to Apple for the iWatch, which is expected to be announced later this year in September. Apple has ordered 12 million OLED displays and expects to sell 9 million of those in 2014; other rumors have quoted up to 55 million.
Would Apple depend on a single supplier for such an important product launch? No, and yes. No because not a single procurement department at a major Fortune 100 company would significantly increase risk by putting all of its eggs into a single supplier. I’ve seen major product launches delayed because the single supplier wasn’t able to meet deadlines.
At the same time Apple has reasons to depend solely on LGD. LGD has been Apple’s primary display supplier for quite some time and that engenders trust. Apple probably shouldn’t trust Samsung, and other display manufacturers probably can’t supply iWatch flexible OLED display panels at the level of quantities, quality, and price Apple wants. There’s another reason. With additional suppliers there’s a different risk: the potential for increased exposure of the company’s plans, and that’s something Apple takes seriously more than most because the company depends heavily on it as a pre-launch marketing strategy.