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Samsung could make $22 billion off next year's iPhones

Apple is reportedly buying 180 million to 200 million OLED displays from Samsung.

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET
iphone-x-outside

The iPhone X is Apple's first phone with an OLED screen.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sure, Apple and Samsung are competitors with their fair share of legal disagreements, but that doesn't stop the frenemies from using each other to make a buck. 

According to a report by Korean outlet ETnews (via The Investor), Apple placed an order for 180 million to 200 million OLED displays from Samsung's manufacturing branch, Samsung Display, for the next round of iPhones. Each display is estimated to cost $110 (roughly £82 or AU$143), which could mean the deal is worth up to $22 billion (or £16.4 billion or AU$28.7 billion). That's a serious chunk of change.

The recently released iPhone X was Apple's first phone to feature an OLED display, rather than an LCD panel. Samsung, on the other hand, has been using OLED displays in its phones for quite some time. Currently Samsung holds a near monopoly on the world's manufacturing of OLED screens. As a result, Apple had little choice but to turn to its rival for this type of screen. 

This isn't the first deal of its kind. Earlier this year it was reported that Apple bought 60 million OLED displays from Samsung, apparently for what would later become the iPhone X. According to the report, Apple's next order is up to four times larger than this previous order.

Demand is so high that Samsung considered opening a new manufacturing plant to process Apple's order, the report said, but has been able to manufacture enough of the panels to fill Apple's order.

Rumor has it that Apple may release three new iPhones in 2018. Two of them -- the suspected 5.8-inch flagship and it's 6.5-inch Plus-size counterpart -- are said to feature OLED screens. The third is rumored to use an LCD screen and be the more affordable option of the bunch.

Two OLED iPhone models would certainly help account for a spike in Apple's OLED needs. The electronics giant might also factor in new screens needed for the current iPhone X model, counting on sales to carry on strong through 2018. Either way, you could be thanking Samsung for making your next iPhone possible.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Samsung declined to comment.

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