We are still a few months away from the 10th anniversary iPhone 8 and more than a year away from the iPhone 9 or whatever Apple chooses to call its 2018 smartphone. While Apple is struggling to fix certain technical issues with the iPhone 8, it has already started selecting suppliers for the iPhone 9. A new report coming out of South Korea claims that LG Chem will be the sole supplier of iPhone 9 batteries.
iPhone 9 batteries to support faster charging speeds
Citing inside sources, The Korea Economic Daily reports that Apple has awarded LG Chem the contract to supply 100% of the iPhone 9 batteries. It’s quite surprising because Apple traditional uses a multi-vendor strategy for key components to diversify its supplier base. The report also indicates that the 2018 iPhone would pack a bigger battery than its predecessors.
Sources told the publication that LG Chem was investing “hundreds of billions of Korean won” to set up battery facilities dedicated to the iPhone 9. Mass production is scheduled to kick off in 2018. It’s a big win for the Korean electronics giant. The Korea Economic Daily added that the iPhone 9 batteries would be bent to the right at the bottom, which would give them an L-shape.
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LG Chem’s focus on L-shaped batteries was the key reason it bagged the contract for 2018 iPhones. The L-shape design will allow Apple to fit in a larger battery without having to increase the size of the phone. Other battery suppliers are still focused on the rectangular design that we see in most smartphones.
The report added that the L-shaped battery would take advantage of the space at the bottom right of the new iPhone. Apple has been able to increase the space available for batteries thanks to the recent developments in component miniaturization and integration.
The report added that the L-shaped battery will also enable faster charging speeds. A bigger battery coupled with faster charging is good news for iPhone fans. Battery life remains a big issue for most smartphone users. The L-shaped design would lead to a bigger battery even in slim smartphones. LG Chem shares jumped 1.07% after the report.
Apple will also use an L-shaped battery in this year’s iPhone 8. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported earlier this year that the 10th anniversary iPhone 8 would employ an L-shaped, two-cell battery design.
Samsung to make chips for the iPhone 9
A separate report claimed earlier this week that Samsung had won the contract to supply A12 chips for the iPhone 9. Samsung is also the sole supplier of OLED panels for the 10th anniversary iPhone. It also makes RAM for the current iPhone 7. The new chip contract is a big win for Samsung because TSMC had become the sole supplier of processors for the flagship iPhones, including this year’s iPhone 8.
Korean site The Investor said a formal contract between Apple and Samsung for A12 chips was signed last month. The “close ties on OLED” between the two companies helped Samsung clinch the chip deal. It’s worth pointing out that Samsung is not the sole supplier of iPhone 9 chips. It will be sharing the order with TSMC, though it’s not known at this point what percentage of the total order Samsung has obtained.
The Korean company will be producing the iPhone 9 chips using 7nm manufacturing process. The Investor reported that the company had purchased advanced chip manufacturing equipment “solely for iPhone.” It will soon complete the testing of 7nm chips before seeking Apple’s approval for production. Apple may be Samsung’s biggest rival, but the Korean company profits from the sale of every iPhone unit.
iPhone 9 to launch in two sizes
Since the iPhone 9 is more than a year away, little is known about it. However, a report earlier this year claimed that Apple would launch the iPhone 9 in two different screen sizes: 5.28-inch and 6.46-inch. Both of them will have a bezel-less OLED display. You should take the iPhone 9 rumors with a grain of salt because Apple may change the design or specifications over the course of the next 14-15 months.
The upcoming iPhone 8 will be Apple’s first smartphone with an OLED display. It will see a major design overhaul with a bezel-less display, 3D sensing front camera, wireless charging, and in-display fingerprint sensor. The 10th anniversary iPhone will also introduce augmented reality.