Apple is testing more than 10 different prototype styles for their new generation of iPhones that could go on sale next year, starting with the iPhone 8. Some of those prototypes may have a new design centered on a curved screen or new OLED technology. That technology would enable that curved screen, also called an OLED, to be a newer type of display that has deeper blacks and lower power consumption. The fact that Apple would need tens of millions of these OLED screens for next year is setting off a race among screen makers, including Samsung, LG Display, Foxconn-owned Sharp, and Japan Display. Ironically, Samsung was the first phone manufacturer to create and patent a prototype folding or bent display screen. But according to Apple top officials, Samsung would supply “most” of Apple’s initial OLED needs, confirming earlier reports that perhaps Samsung is turning to outsourcing to recoup its financial losses from its phone battery fire debacle.
But Apple is also pushing Sharp, LG Display, and Japan Display to gear up and be able to supply OLED iPhone screens as soon as 2018. That would require significant investment; for instance, Sharp would need to spend more than $5 billion to develop the technology and capacity to supply OLED screens for Apple. Even Apple’s own techs and experts have no inkling for the future whether Apple’s OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn’t take this new path and transform itself, then Apple may lose its innovation into new technology and designs. It is well known that other phone makers are starting to experiment on new designs and technology since smartphone design and innovation has somewhat stagnated for the past 10 years now. This new information about Apple’s iPhone 8 prototypes lines up and confirms with other reports from the Wall Street Journal, Nikkei, and Bloomberg, as well as analyst reports from Barclays and KGI Securities.
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As iPhone sales decline, pressure is mounting on Apple to deliver a newer, more desirable, and more innovative new iPhone model in 2017 to return to dominance in the smartphone industry. The new model is widely expected to feature glass casing, wireless charging, and a new no-edge or edgeless screen design, in addition to the latest chips and technologies. But in reality, the iPhone 8 design still doesn’t sound 100% locked down but the phone maker’s move is the right one to make towards more original innovation even if screen sizes may get larger and curved edges in the original envelope. Most sources pointed to three iPhone models that may come out in 2017, with only one sporting the new OLED curved screen. They also predict that these three new iPhone models to be launched in 2017 may be the 5.1-5.2’ OLED, 4.7’ TFT-LCD, and 5.5’ TFT-LCD. The Journal warns that the OLED iPhone could be scrapped before its expected launch next fall. However, all of Apple’s plans hinges on whether the company’s suppliers can provide enough next-generation screens.