Samsung is selling far fewer screens for the iPhone X than it expected to

Things are looking down for the iPhone X.
Things are looking down for the iPhone X.
Image: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Samsung reported its quarterly earnings Thursday, April 26, in South Korea. Beyond smartphones, gadgets, and all other sorts of electronic equipment, Samsung is one of the largest producers of components for other companies’ products. And one of its clients for high-definition displays is Apple, giving watchers another view into the iPhone maker’s performance.

The conglomerate reported that it expects softness in the global smartphone market to be a challenge for earnings next quarter, in particular the demand for OLED display panels in smartphones. Samsung was the sole supplier for these displays in the iPhone X (but no other iPhone model), which is similar to the technology it uses in its own phones.

Apple had a record quarter last reporting period, which was the first that the iPhone X was on sale. Apple doesn’t break out what percentage of its iPhone sales come from specific phones, but the average selling price of an iPhone popped, suggesting some chunk of its audience was buying its far more expensive iPhone X.

But a report out earlier this week suggested that demand for the iPhone X has cooled this quarter, accounting for just 16% of the smartphones Apple has sold so far in 2018. Samsung’s earnings report seems to back this up, given the weakening demand it’s seeing for iPhone X-type displays. Similarly, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which makes some of Apple’s processors, recently revised its forecast for the rest of the year down by $1 billion due to the soften mobile market, according to AppleInsider.

We’ll have the final word on how Apple fared during the most recently completed quarter, and how it expects to do over the summer, on May 1, when it reports its earnings.