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07-13: Apple is likely to add BOE to its iPhone supply chain; Apple has allegedly suspended the development of head-mounted display (HMD) AR/VR headsets; etc.

Touch Display

Apple is likely to add BOE to its iPhone supply chain. Currently, OLED panels for the iPhone are supplied exclusively by Samsung Display (SDC). The items under export control of the Japanese government include fluorine polyimide and etching gas (high purity hydrogen fluoride) that are used for production of TV and smartphone panels. If SDC’s OLED panel production is disrupted due to a lack of the two items, it will have a direct negative impact on iPhone shipments. (CN Beta, Business Korea)

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has returned from Japan amid the neighboring nation’s curbs on high-tech exports to South Korea. As hydrogen fluoride is extremely corrosive and cannot be stored for a long time, Korean companies have been importing with small quantities. Hydrogen fluoride is mainly used for cutting semiconductor substrates, and the number of hydrogen fluoride used is sometimes as many as 10 times in more than 600 processes for manufacturing semiconductor products. It is speculated that Samsung’s hydrogen fluoride storage may only last for several weeks, and other Korean semiconductor companies are even less optimistic. (CN Beta, Asia Nikkei, Korea Herald, CNBC)

Camera

Xiaomi has recently registered a research and development company in Tampere, Finland. The firm is officially registered as Xiaomi Finland Oy and will focus on the development of camera technologies. (GSM Arena, Finder.fi, Suimo Mobiili)

Memory

Applied Materials has launched its Endura platforms, including the Endura Clover PVD platform targeting magnetic random access memory; the Endura Impulse PVD platform for producing resistive RAM and phase change RAM. These technologies involve new materials that were previously difficult to manufacture in high volumes. (My Drivers, HPC Wire, Benzinga)

DRAM chipmakers are still trapped by excess inventories, although inventory levels at their customers have already come down, according to Nanya Technology president Pei-Ing Lee. DRAM prices will continue to slide but at a slower pace in the 3Q19, with a potential rally in the memory spot market prices, according to Lee. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, CNYES)

Connectivity

China Unicom and Huawei have recently completed the “first Chinese 5G double-leakage cable (2T2R) program”. The deployment and coverage are in the Shijiazhuang Metro Line 1 rail zone. This solves the problem of 3.5G high-band 5G network subway tunnel coverage. (GizChina, IT Home)

Phone

The United States Federal Trade Commission has settled on a USD5B fine that Facebook will have to pay as a result of the scandal. Facebook’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal that resulted in user data being inadvertently shared with the analytics company has been quite troublesome for Facebook.  (CN Beta, Neowin, WSJ)

The US market shows 5G smartphone sales in over 10 cities in May 2019 despite Verizon only launching 5G services in Chicago and Minneapolis, according to Counterpoint Research. While Chicago did show the highest concentration of sales, it represented only 5% of total 5G smartphone sales according to data collected across millions of sales data points during May. Counterpoint forecasts for the US market for 5G smartphones is more than 5M units in 2019. (Digital Trends, Counterpoint Research)

Driven by inexpensive Alexa products, Amazon is adding customers at a faster rate than either Spotify or Apple Music. Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers have grown by about 70% in 2018. While Spotify dominates the market in pure subscriber count, its rate of growth in subscriptions lags behind at just 25%. (Ars Technica, Rolling Stone, Apple Insider, Financial Times, CN Beta)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Apple has allegedly suspended the development of head-mounted display (HMD) AR/VR headsets, and already disbanded its team for the development of AR/VR HMDs. Digitimes suggests that the team working on the new glasses was disbanded back in May 2019 and assigned to different teams. (Tom’s Hardware, Mac Rumors, Digital Trends, Digitimes, Digitimes, press)

Automotive

The electric scooter operator Bird has allegedly lost nearly USD100M while revenue shrank sharply to only about USD15M. However, the company CEO Travis Vanderzanden has indicated that the company has positive unit economics. He has revealed that Bird makes USD1.27 on every ride on its Bird Zero scooters, which accounts for more than 75% of its fleet. (CN Beta, TechCrunch, The Information)

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