Apple to launch only one OLED iPhone 8 due to supply constraints

Image Credit: Veniamin Geskin
Image Credit: Veniamin Geskin

Apple’s plans for an OLED iPhone are well known rumors at this point, with nearly every report claiming that 2017 is the year the company will finally make the pivot towards the display technology. Many believe only one iPhone will be blessed with the screen and now a new article attempts to shed some light on why.

Samsung, LG, Sharp and Japan Display, the 4 main OLED bigwigs, apparently don’t have enough production capacity to make sure all iPhone 8 models carry the new displays. As per Bloomberg, the limitations are apparently serious enough to last into 2018, a major thorn in the side for Apple’s ambitious strategy.

OLED panels are more complicated to produce than standard LCD ones. This situation supposedly positions Apple at the mercy of manufacturers who are still hard at work trying to mass produce the displays. Samsung is still set to be the sole supplier for the iPhone 8. However, it may not be able to make enough due to a combination of increasing iPhone demand and low yield rates.

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Samsung’s OLED units are additionally constrained by its own mobile division’s demand. Apple’s reportedly ordered 100 million units from the South Korean brand, all measuring more than 5-inch. If it can’t deliver, Apple won’t have a fallback option to rely on. The company usually hires multiple suppliers for parts.

The circumstances throws open a number of possibilities such as Apple using an OLED display in just one iPhone or pushing back adoption of the technology. The former is the favored one amongst past speculations which predict that 2017 will bring a trio of iPhone 8s, with two having an LCD screen and the third an OLED version.

A source familiar with Apple’s plans claims this OLED iPhone 8 will have a revamped look which extends the glass from the display to the handset’s back and edges. It’s also likely to have a virtual Home button embedded within its borderless panel.