A variety of supply chain leaks and analyst reports have indicated in the last few months that Apple’s 2017 smartphone – likely to be called iPhone 8 – will come with a curved OLED display, similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7. A new report coming out of Asia reveals that Apple will launch three versions of iPhone 8, but only one of them will have a curved OLED screen.

iphone-8-concept
Image Credit: ConceptsiPhone / YouTube video

Foxconn eyeing contract for OLED displays

Supply chain sources told the Nikkei Asian Review that the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models will have flat LCD screens similar to the current iPhone 6S. But a third, premium handset will have a 5.5-inch or larger OLED display bent on both sides. An OLED display offers sharper color contrast, better power efficiency, and better viewing angles compared to the LCD technology.

Earlier this year, we reported that Apple had awarded a $2.59 billion contract to Samsung for the supply of OLED displays starting next year. However, IHS DisplaySearch market research director David Hsieh told Nikkei that Samsung may not be able to fulfill the demand both for itself as well as Apple next year. Foxconn seems to have sensed it, so it has started working on its own glass casings and OLED displays to secure an order from Apple.

Will the third iPhone 8 model have a 5.8-inch display?

Nikkei’s report is in line with that of KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who recently said that Apple would launch an all-new version of iPhone with a curved 5.8-inch OLED display and glass casing in 2017. Samsung’s flagship smartphones with curved displays have been mega successes, even though Samsung hasn’t yet added many important features to the side displays.

A major design overhaul with iPhone 8 would boost the prospects for Apple and its suppliers. Suppliers have seen falling orders due to a decline in iPhone sales. A major Apple supplier told Nikkei that they had received orders for 54 million units of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that will be unveiled next month. The iPhone sales could fall below 200 million units this year compared to 231 million iPhones sold last year.