According to a report published by Nikkei, Apple has placed an order for 70 million OLED screens from Samsung to be used in the rumored iPhone 8. OLED screens differ from LCD screens, which Apple currently uses in iPhone displays, in a variety of ways: OLED screens are bendable, as demonstrated by the rounded edges of the Samsung Galaxy S8, and use individually lit pixels instead of a backlight, meaning that they can display darker blacks than LCDs can and use less battery life to display darker images. Additionally, OLED displays have a shorter lifespan than other types of displays and are prone to burn-in and reduction in quality over time, although technological advances have improved the quality of these displays in recent years.
Nikkei’s report is notable for a variety of reasons. One of the most striking elements of the report is that Apple is willing to do business with Samsung, whose Galaxy line of smartphones directly competes with Apple’s iPhones. Although recently Samsung’s name is frequently associated primarily with their line of smartphones, it’s important to keep in mind that Samsung is also a manufacturer of many other technologies, including TVs and home appliances. And as Samsung creates the most advanced OLED displays in the world and has the capacity to meet the demand of a large client like Apple, it makes sense that they would take the opportunity to manufacture displays for them, despite the history of competition and litigation between the companies.
Another striking element of the report is the number of displays that were ordered. 70 million displays is certainly a large number, and according to the report, Samsung is prepared to manufacture up to 95 million displays for Apple in 2017 if necessary. These optimistic figures match both the ever-growing levels of hype surrounding the newest Apple products and predictions made by market analysts who assert that Apple’s popularity will continue to grow in the coming years.
The report also sheds light on some of the other details of the iPhone 8. According to an anonymous source cited in the report, the iPhone 8 will come in three forms: a standard model with a 4.7″ LCD screen, a larger model with a 5.5″ LCD screen, and a premium model, believed to cost over a thousand dollars, which will feature a curved 5.2″ OLED display, among other as-of-yet unspecified improvements. Apple is no stranger to the philosophy of offering a more expensive “premium” edition of the standard versions of their products, as illustrated by Apple Watch Edition. Judging by the large order placed for OLED screens for the premium edition of the iPhone 8, Apple expects this product to be among their more popular offerings, not just a status symbol for the very wealthy.
However, the three-tiered approach to offering the iPhone would be a new step for Apple. Initially, Apple only offered a single version of the iPhone per year, until 2013, when they released the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Offering three versions of the popular smartphone in 2017 would continue the tradition of gradually expanding the number of choices customers have when purchasing the newest iPhone.
The report also supports some other rumors surrounding the features to be introduced by the iPhone 8: the anonymous source claimed that each version of the newest iPhone will support wireless charging, and will be waterproof. Although competing flagships have included features such as these for years, Apple products have never supported wireless charging, and while the iPhone 7 is advertised as being water and dust resistant, the newer iPhone is expected to have greater water-resistant capabilities. Also, like the Samsung Galaxy 8, the iPhone 8 is expected to include a 3D scanner for facial recognition purposes.
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