Reports from Asia suggest that Apple will release three iPhone 9 models with OLED technology in 2018, effectively scrapping the so-called iPhone 8 generation. Nikkei Asian Review, a frequent provider of Apple rumors, claims to have been in contact with two industry sources close to Apple who suggest that the consumer electronics giant will delay its OLED display mobiles until next year.

iPhone 9 Models
Concept by ValueWalk

Three OLED models

According to these sources, three iPhone 9 models with OLED screens will appear in the second half of 2018, possibly even being delayed until the usual September release window. This will be a blow to Apple fans if it indeed come to fruition, as it had been widely anticipated that an OLED iPhone would be released in the latter months of the current calendar year.

What is also interesting to note is that all of these iPhone 9 models will seemingly feature the new screen technology. Although it has been widely anticipated that Apple would utilize OLED in 2017, it is generally expected that there will be only one model of the iPhone range featuring this display technology. iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus devices are instead expected to rely on the LCD screens that have always been used in iPhone releases previously.

However, although this is an interesting and credible report, it is important to note that Apple changes its plans on a regular basis, and with over one year to go until the iPhone 9 is released, this can hardly be considered a solid suggestion. Indeed, the number of patents that Apple routinely files for innovative technology that has yet to emerge indicates that there are always schemes and experimentations taking place within the Californian company that don’t necessarily amount to much.

Apple’s great rival Samsung may be rather pleased about the suggestion of three iPhone models featuring OLED technology, as the Korean corporation is the most likely supplier of these screens. Samsung has, of course, already utilized LCD extensively in its own devices, and would be the obvious provider for any Apple devices embracing this screen technology.

There have been suggestions previously that LG could be enlisted in order to provide at least some of the display panels utilized in either an iPhone 8 or iPhone 9 release, but it seems that the market- leading Samsung will have to be involved on some level.

iPhone shipments

Taipei-based Yuanta Investment Consulting had previously stated that shipments of iPhone models in 2017 will will reach 90 million, and half of these will feature OLED technology. Other prominent analysts and Apple observers have also indicated their belief that the 2017 iPhone generation will deliver OLED technology for the first time. So regardless of these reports from Asia, we can still reasonably expect Apple to embrace OLED before the calendar year is complete.

There are several advantages for Apple in utilizing OLED for the first time. Firstly, the screen technology delivers a sharper color contrast than LCD, which has been reflected in the excellent perception of the displays included in Samsung Galaxy products recently. Secondly, the technology is dependable, meaning that curved or even foldable displays become feasible.

And it is also often suggested that OLED technology is kinder on battery life than its LCD equivalent. This could be a particular bonus for Apple, as these devices have frequently been accused of being rather greedy with battery charge.

Samsung can be rather proud of its achievement in pioneering OLED technology, and then establishing it as an industry standard. Indicative of this trend is the fact that the capital expenditure for display technology from Samsung alone reached $8.43 billion in the 2016 calendar year. Samsung released its first smartphone with an OLED display way back in 2010, and it has since become an essential ingredient in the success of the Korean company.

Aside from Apple, other smartphone manufacturers are also shifting to OLED displays in their premium products, with the technology becoming particularly popular in China. The recent One Plus 5 device indeed features an OLED display, and it certainly seems the right time for Apple to definitively shift away from LCD.

Samsung dominance

With Samsung looking to expand its already dominant position in the global OLED market, it is widely anticipated that the company will be the sole screen supplier for Apple in 2017, if indeed the iPhone 8 does embrace OLED. With this in mind, Samsung has already explicitly stated that it expects its OLED business to increase its revenue in comparison to 2016.

The South Korean conglomerate has also recently released its plans to establish a new OLED manufacturing site in Asan, South Korea, by 2018. Mirae Asset Daewoo analyst Kim Chul-joong has written that Samsung will expand production capacity for flexible OLED panels to around 135,000 per month by the fourth-quarter.

Thus, it will be interesting to see what Apple has in mind for the iPhone 8 generation, particularly as this will impact both on its own performance and that of Samsung, and whether three OLED iPhone 9 models will indeed appear in 2018.

Possible iPhone 9 specs

It is hard to know what other specs we should expect from these iPhone 9 models, but the iPhone 8 has been linked with a raft of revolutionary technology, in order to acknowledge the tenth anniversary of this iconic item of consumer electronics. Perhaps the most intriguing of these is the introduction of augmented reality technology, which will play a role in both delivering security provisions and enhanced gaming features.

Wireless charging will probably also appear for the first time, with reports indicating that Apple has been working on introducing a unique system which will allow devices to be charged wirelessly at a distance of 15 feet.

We may have to wait a while for these three iPhone 9 models to appear, but even these early reports will whet the appetite of Apple fans.