Apple is always inclined to plan ahead, and the latest rumors related to the consumer electronics giant once again confirm this impression. Fans of the iPhone range are eagerly awaiting the release of the iPhone 7, which is largely expected to be released in September. It is difficult to be completely confident about this prognosis, as Apple will confirm nothing about the device until merely weeks before its release, including the existence of the handset itself. But as consumers anticipate the iPhone 7, it is clear that Apple is already thinking about the iPhone 8 as well.
Well, either that or the iPhone 7s! We’re not quite sure whether the technology involved will be utilized in 2017 or 2018, and quite what Apple’s release schedule is for the iPhone series either. But it is reasonable to assume based on recent precedent that Apple will release an iPhone 7s in 2017, with the truly next generation iPhone to follow in 2018.
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Anyway, a pre-publication note from Digitimes has indicated that Apple is working on an iPhone handset which features an AMOLED screen as opposed to the LCD that has been utilized previously. It has been rumored quite strongly in recent weeks that Apple will indeed update the iPhone range by including AMOLED technology in the near future, and it now seems that there are tangible plans within the corporation to implement this in the next couple of years.
Reports suggest that the AMOLED iPhone is very much part of Apple’s medium-term plans, and that it will likely be launched in either 2017 or 2018. Apple has felt the need to respond to the prominence of AMOLED in the Samsung Galaxy range and other Android handsets for numerous reasons, and is now assessing the logistical possibility of doing so.
Samsung lined up
It seems that Samsung Display is the most obvious candidates to supply this technology for Apple, and this could be a massive boost for the Korean manufacturer. It is ironic that Samsung will benefit from providing improved screening technology to Apple, considering that Samsung is the most obvious rival to the market-leader in the smartphone marketplace. But the position of the Korean technology behemoth as a supplier as well as manufacturer will mean that it will be hugely advantageous to be part of the iPhone 7s / iPhone 8 production process.
Aside from the involvement of Samsung, it is also rumored that both LG Display and Japan Display will be involved in the production of AMOLED screens for Apple at a later date. It is also suggested by the leaked note that Apple will manufacture around 50 million iPhones with AMOLED screens. Considering the current level of sales for the iPhone range, this does suggest that the corporation will still provide consumers with an LCD option; possibly this could be region-specific.
This news can be seen as further confirmation that Apple intends to shake up its iPhone range significantly in the next few years, and that the iPhone 7s / iPhone 8 could be the beginning of this process. Previously reports suggested in the last couple of weeks that Apple will diverge from its usual iPhone policy by releasing three separate units of the iPhone 7 in September. The third handset in the iPhone 7 range will reportedly be dubbed the iPhone Pro, and will include a dual- camera setup on the back that will distinguish it from the iPhone 7 Plus.
Release date debate
The latest reports relating to AMOLED technology back up the suggestion over the last week or so that Apple will indeed switch to the display technology as soon as 2017. This has been widely reported in China, with sources close to the Apple supply chain apparently discovering the information. However, some analysts believe that it is more likely that Apple will implement this new screen technology at a later date, with Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities asserting that 2019 is a more likely date.
Reports from China suggest that Apple is already in discussion with the likes of LG and Samsung with the intention of including AMOLED technology in either the iPhone 7s or iPhone 8. There will inevitable be considerable negotiations involved in this process, as Apple will unquestionably consider its market position in comparison to Samsung, and negotiate accordingly.
It would seem to be a necessity for the California-based company to amend its approach to the iPhone series, as there is evidence that the smartphone marketplace is slowing down, even for a massively successful corporation such as Apple. It has already been conceded by Apple that it will shift less iPhone units in 2016 than in previous years; the first time that this has occurred since the iPhone was first launched in 2007.
Challenges for Apple
There is a massive challenge for Apple to deliver something significantly different, and of massively increased quality, with each new iPhone release, and this is not the only challenge facing the corporation. One of the biggest issues that Apple will have to contend with in the coming years is the increasing balkanisation of the smartphone marketplace, with numerous smaller companies beginning to eat into the market share of even the undisputed leader.
Meanwhile, the company has effectively been tasked by the city with diversifying its revenue streams away from the dominant iPhone series. No one seriously expects the iPhone 7s or iPhone 8 to be anything other than the most successful Apple product; indeed, the iPhone range is currently responsible for around two-thirds of Apple’s overall income.
But there has been difficulty for the Cupertino-based company in demonstrating that it can move away from the iPhone as being entirely dominant within its product range, and this coupled with a slightly declining demand for smartphones could be damaging to the value of Apple.
Regardless of this, it seems that Apple is already planning to completely alter the screen technology included in the iPhone range, but it will be interesting to see when the AMOLED iPhone finally emerges.