Apple iPhone 8: Sourcing OLED panels might be a problem, says report

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Apple is expected to overhaul the iPhone 8ís design next year given its the 10th anniversary of iPhone in 2017. (Representational image of iPhone 7 Plus)

Apple iPhone 8 is far from its release but the tech industry is already interested in what the Cupertino giant will be offering in 2017. An earlier report from Nikkei had shared a statement from a Sharp executive (Sharp is an Apple supplier) who said that the 2017 iPhone will be adopting an OLED display. However, the latest report from Bloomberg suggests Apple might not have enough suppliers to satiate the demand for these OLED panels.

“The trouble is that the four main suppliers for such components won’t have enough production capacity to make screens for all new iPhones next year, with constraints continuing into 2018, people familiar with the matter said, presenting a potential challenge for the Cupertino, California-based company,” the report points out.

The four major suppliers of OLED panels include Samsung Display Co., LG Display Co., Sharp Corp., and Japan Display Inc. According to the report, though Apple has tied-up with Samsung for OLED technology, the South Korean company itself might not produce enough to meet the demand.

Do note, Samsung makes OLED panel for its own smartphones as well and might struggle to keep up up Apple’s demands, which spikes during holiday season. The report highlights, “Apple shipped about 75 million iPhones in the 2015 holiday quarter, and some analysts estimate that as many as 90 million could be sold in the last three months of 2017.”

Apple is expected to overhaul the iPhone 8’s design next year given its the 10th anniversary of iPhone in 2017 (the first iPhone was launched by Steve Jobs in 2007). Apple iPhone 8 is said to come in two variants based on the screen size: 5-inch and 5.8-inch.

The Bloomberg report quotes KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said Apple could use OLED technology for only one of its models of iPhone 8 and go with older LCD for other ones due to production shortage. “The combination of Apple’s stringent quality requirements and the difficulty of producing OLED panels will likely lead to supply constraints,” Dan Panzica, a supply chain analyst at IHS Markit told the site.

Reports suggest, Apple will go for a radical design change for iPhone 8 that will have edge-to-edge display or bezel-less design. The Cupertino giant is expected to ditch the aluminium metal casings in favour of an all-glass design for the 2017 iPhone. The device is said to feature glass backs developed by Biel and Lens. The glass front and the glass back will be held together using a metal frame. The iPhone 8 will have a front-facing virtual home button instead of a physical one.

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