Apple’s 2018 iPhone Lineup Said to Gain LCD Model With Screen Larger Than 6 Inches

Apple's lineup of iPhones next year will introduce a larger-screened LCD model, measuring more than 6 inches, according to a report today by The Bell (via The Korea Herald). It's unclear whether this size will be an additional offering to the current LCD iPhone lineup (including 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models), or if it's replacing these sizes completely.

In May we heard the first rumor about Apple's 2018 iPhones, which at the time focused solely on the OLED versions and did not mention the LCD models. This rumor stated that the devices would come in 5.28-inch and 6.46-inch OLED screen sizes. A subsequent report by ETNews suggested that Apple had ditched the small 5.28-inch size and moved to focus on 5.85-inch and 6.46-inch models, and today's report corroborates those claims.


This means that next year Apple could potentially launch the following iPhones: a 5.8-inch OLED model, a 6.46-inch "Plus" OLED model, and at least one LCD model that measures 6 inches (or larger).
Apple has decided to ditch the smallest 5.28-inch OLED iPhone next year, while adding a larger -- possibly more than 6 inches -- LCD model into the full lineup, according to The Bell on Sept. 25.

Citing local parts makers, the report said Apple had originally given panel orders to Samsung Display, its sole OLED supplier, under a plan to launch three OLED iPhones next year -- 5.28-, 5.85-, and 6.46-inch models. But the report said the development work for the 5.28-inch model has recently been suspended possibly due to the low marketability of the smaller version.
The Bell cites local parts makers who claimed that Apple decided to scrap the 5.28-inch model of next year's iPhone "due to the low marketability" of such a small-screened device. Apple is said to have given OLED orders to Samsung Display for the other two sizes.

Apple will continue sourcing 2018's LCD iPhone screens from supplier Japan Display, which already includes panel orders for the new larger screen size. According to industry watchers, Apple's decision to ditch the 5.28-inch iPhone 9 is due to the "popularity of larger-screen phones for video viewing." A 6.46-inch iPhone would be larger than Samsung's 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 8.

In regards to when Apple might switch to OLED-only iPhones, 2019 has been eyed as the year that Apple might finally make that transition.

Tag: iPhone 9

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Apple Pressing LG to Add OLED Display Production for 2018 iPhone, Limiting Samsung’s Leverage

Amid reports Apple is investing billions of dollars to help LG begin production of OLED displays for future iPhones, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new report sharing his take on the situation.


According to Kuo, the OLED display panel for this year's "iPhone 8" has been the "single most troublesome component for Apple in terms of bargaining power," as Samsung is currently the only company with design and production capabilities to make the displays. To counter Samsung's advantage, Apple is working hard to support LG's efforts to ramp up similar expertise and capabilities.
We think Apple is therefore committed to having LGD geared up for its OLED iPhone display business in 2018 as it seeks to reduce supply risks. Even though LGD may likely start off with minimal initial penetration in 2018 (we estimate no more than 4-6%), the effort, with the full commitment of both Apple and LGD, will help LGD mature during the process and steadily gain supply share from 2019 onward. This will in turn continuously boost Apple’s bargaining power on OLED prices.
Kuo predicts LG will capture 10–20 percent of iPhone OLED display production in 2019 and up to 20–30 percent in 2020, helping to diversify Apple's sourcing and limit Samsung's leverage.

While LG will have expertise at production of the display panels themselves, Kuo predicts Foxconn subsidiary General Interface Solution (GIS) will be brought on board to assist with lamination processes. GIS would also offer expertise in production troubleshooting and vertical integration with Foxconn, so it would be an ideal partner for accelerating LG's growth in Apple's display supply chain.


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Report Claims LG Will Be Sole Supplier of Batteries for Next Year’s ‘iPhone 9’

LG Chemical will be the sole supplier of batteries for Apple's "iPhone 9" next year, according to The Korea Economic Daily. If the report is accurate, the South Korean firm has scored a big win, since Apple usually takes a multi-vendor approach when it comes to sourcing batteries for its iPhones.

Citing industry insiders, the newspaper said LG has made a sizable investment to bolster the capability of its facilities and that production of the batteries would begin in 2018.

"LG has invested hundred of billions of Korean won for related facilities and plans to start mass production from early next year," the Korean-language report quoted a source in the chemical industry as saying.
The report added that the battery LG will produce for the so-called "iPhone 9" is L-shaped, a design that's also previously been tipped for this year's OLED "iPhone 8" and should allow for better battery life.

The L-shape, which is bent at the bottom, represents an increase in size over current rectangular iPhone batteries and depends on the PCB mainboard being more compact to make space for it. Today's report also claims the altered shape is expected to result in faster charging speeds.

A report in May claimed the iPhone 9 will launch in two 5.28-inch and 6.46-inch OLED variants, with Samsung expected to be the supplier for the OLED displays.

(Via CNBC.)

Tags: LG, iPhone 9

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TSMC Rumored to Be Sole Supplier of A-Series iPhone Chips in 2018

Earlier this week, a report by The Korea Herald suggested that Samsung Electronics could be returning as a supplier for the so-called A12 chip in 2018's line of iPhones, after being removed from the A-series chip supply chain in 2016 and 2017, years in which Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company took on all of the orders. Now, industry observers reported upon by DigiTimes are predicting that TSMC is "still likely" to retain its title as the sole manufacturer of A-series chips in 2018.

In today's report, TSMC's integrated fan-out wafer-level packaging technology -- which the supplier uses in its 7-nanometer FinFET chip fabrication -- is looked at as largely superior to any progress made by Samsung in the same field. Samsung is said to be "aggressively vying" for A-series orders from Apple ahead of 2018, but DigiTimes' sources state that even the company's close ties to OLED might not be enough for Apple to add Samsung as a secondary A-series supplier for the reported three iPhones launching in fall 2018.


It is unlikely Samsung will be able to regain application processors orders for Apple's iPhone, as TSMC's in-house developed InFO wafer-level packaging will make the Taiwan-based foundry's 7nm FinFET technology more competitive than Samsung's, said the observers.

Samsung has grabbed Apple's A9 chip orders for the new 9.7-inch iPads introduced earlier in 2017, the observers claimed. TSMC, which is already the sole supplier of Apple's 10nm A11 chips for the upcoming iPhones, will still likely obtain all of the next-generation A-series chip orders for Apple's 2018 series of iPhones with its 7nm FinFET process, the observers said.

TSMC's innovation in backend packaging plays a key role in securing exclusive orders for Apple's processors for the upcoming iPhones, the observers noted.
In Tuesday's report, it was rumored that Samsung Electronics co-CEO Kwon Oh-hyun already made a deal with Apple concerning 2018 iPhone chip production during a visit to Cupertino last month. Otherwise, The Korea Herald's report was light on details, with no clear indication on exactly how many orders Samsung might have gained from such a deal besides believing the company would "share some parts" of A-series chip production with TSMC.

If Apple kept TSMC as the sole A-series manufacturer in 2018, it would mark the third year in a row that the supplier created iPhone chips alone, following the A10 in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and the A11 in the upcoming "iPhone 8," "iPhone 7s," and "iPhone 7s Plus." Otherwise, a return to dual-sourced A-series chips in 2018 would be the first time Apple made that move since 2015, when both Samsung and TSMC supplied the A9 chip in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which frustrated some users when TSMC's technology was discovered to boast marginally better battery life.


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Samsung Rumored to Return to iPhone Chip Production in 2018

Samsung Electronics will return to producing chips for Apple in next year's iPhone lineup, according to a new report today by The Korea Herald. Before, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company held the sole supplier responsibility of providing Apple's A10 chip in the iPhone 7, as well as the A11 chip in the upcoming iPhone 8, but now today's report references a "crucial deal" made between Samsung Electronics co-CEO Kwon Oh-hyun and Apple during a visit to Cupertino last month.

According to the report, Samsung managed to close the deal because of the company's decision to purchase equipment solely intended for 7-nanometer chip fabrication for iPhone devices. This move, as well as using Samsung's "close ties on OLED," convinced Apple to reintroduce the supplier into the iPhone chip supply chain. Although details remain vague, The Korea Herald's sources said that Samsung would "share some parts" of the 2018 iPhone orders that have been previously monopolized by TSMC.

According to news reports on July 18, Samsung recently purchased extreme ultra violet lithography machines, the most advanced chip manufacturing equipment, to produce seven-nanometer mobile processors solely for iPhone.

“The CEO could persuade Apple’s top brass taking advantage of their close ties on OLED,” said an industry source. Samsung, the world’s largest mobile OLED maker with a whopping 95 percent market share, is the sole OLED supplier for the upcoming iPhone.
In 2015, Apple dual-sourced the A9 chip from both TSMC and Samsung for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, leading to some blowback from consumers when battery tests were performed and saw the TSMC chips outperform those made by Samsung. To avoid that issue again, and thanks to TSMC's aggressive moves to adopt smaller and more energy efficient manufacturing processes, Apple chose the company as the sole supplier of the A10 and A11 chips.

Now, Samsung is said to be preparing tests for its own chip processing machines, and next plans to "seek final approval from Apple for the chip production" for what will presumably be called the A12 chip. As the sole OLED supplier for the 2017 iPhone, Samsung Display's deal with Apple has placed the manufacturer with providing between 70 and 92 million OLED displays for the upcoming iPhone 8. Apple is predicted to shift to OLED-only iPhone production as soon as 2018 or 2019.


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Samsung Rumored to Return to iPhone Chip Production in 2018

Samsung Electronics will return to producing chips for Apple in next year's iPhone lineup, according to a new report today by The Korea Herald. Before, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company held the sole supplier responsibility of providing Apple's A10 chip in the iPhone 7, as well as the A11 chip in the upcoming iPhone 8, but now today's report references a "crucial deal" made between Samsung Electronics co-CEO Kwon Oh-hyun and Apple during a visit to Cupertino last month.

According to the report, Samsung managed to close the deal because of the company's decision to purchase equipment solely intended for 7-nanometer chip fabrication for iPhone devices. This move, as well as using Samsung's "close ties on OLED," convinced Apple to reintroduce the supplier into the iPhone chip supply chain. Although details remain vague, The Korea Herald's sources said that Samsung would "share some parts" of the 2018 iPhone orders that have been previously monopolized by TSMC.

According to news reports on July 18, Samsung recently purchased extreme ultra violet lithography machines, the most advanced chip manufacturing equipment, to produce seven-nanometer mobile processors solely for iPhone.

“The CEO could persuade Apple’s top brass taking advantage of their close ties on OLED,” said an industry source. Samsung, the world’s largest mobile OLED maker with a whopping 95 percent market share, is the sole OLED supplier for the upcoming iPhone.
In 2015, Apple dual-sourced the A9 chip from both TSMC and Samsung for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, leading to some blowback from consumers when battery tests were performed and saw the TSMC chips outperform those made by Samsung. To avoid that issue again, and thanks to TSMC's aggressive moves to adopt smaller and more energy efficient manufacturing processes, Apple chose the company as the sole supplier of the A10 and A11 chips.

Now, Samsung is said to be preparing tests for its own chip processing machines, and next plans to "seek final approval from Apple for the chip production" for what will presumably be called the A12 chip. As the sole OLED supplier for the 2017 iPhone, Samsung Display's deal with Apple has placed the manufacturer with providing between 70 and 92 million OLED displays for the upcoming iPhone 8. Apple is predicted to shift to OLED-only iPhone production as soon as 2018 or 2019.


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Apple Planning to Launch Three New OLED iPhones in 2018

Earlier this year, a supply chain report said that Apple plans to make all of its iPhones with an OLED screen by 2019. Apple was believed to be preparing to adopt OLED panels for 60 million units of the "iPhone 8" in 2017, and then the company would double the adoption of OLED panels in 2018 before wholly transitioning to OLED-only iPhones in 2019.

In a report by Nikkei today, that timeline has been bumped up slightly based on two industry sources, who said that Apple is planning to use OLED displays "in all new iPhone models launched from the second half of 2018."

iPhone 8 rendering via Benjamin Geskin

Not only that, but one source said that Apple is "tentatively" looking to debut three iPhone models next year, and all would use an OLED display. That would be in contrast to the trio of iPhones coming in 2017, two of which are expected to still use LCD screens and one of which will be the first iPhone to transition to OLED, the so-called iPhone 8.
Apple is planning to use advanced organic light-emitting diode displays in all new iPhone models launched from the second half of 2018, according to two industry sources.

One said that Apple is tentatively looking at releasing three new models next year. Apple did not respond to an email seeking comments.
Rumors about the "iPhone 9" started in May of this year, when a report predicted Apple would debut the 2018 iPhone in two OLED screen sizes: 5.28-inch and 6.46-inch. The supply chain is also believed to be starting to eye production of the iPhone 9, with LG Innotek planning to begin production of flexible printed circuit boards in 2018 in hopes of becoming a main FPCB manufacturer of Apple's 2018 iPhone.

In today's report, Apple is said to have already begun designing the new iPhones coming in 2018, "but its plans are subject to change," as usual depending on various market factors and component quality discovered through the production process.

The sources also cited concern over Apple's shifting to OLED-only models as soon as 2018, considering that only one company -- Samsung -- is a reliable source of manufacturing for the technology. Apple is already said to be looking into diversifying its OLED display orders, however, including potentially investing in a major LG Display OLED plant with production estimated to begin in early 2019.

Samsung will be the sole supplier of OLED displays for the premium iPhone 8 in 2017, but Nikkei's sources didn't know how much that might change in 2018. With suppliers like LG Display still not predicted to gear up on OLED production until 2019, Samsung is likely to remain at least a major OLED source for Apple in 2018.
Samsung Display declined to comment. It is unclear whether Samsung will remain the exclusive OLED supplier in 2018 even though other rivals are still struggling to churn out OLED panels for smartphones. Apple usually prefers more than one supplier for a single component. The two companies are also locked in fierce competition in the global smartphone market.
Suppliers JDI and Sharp will continue to supply LCD screens for iPhones like this year's "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus," which are expected to be sold well into 2019, "although demand could fall with the arrival of OLED iPhones." One Sharp executive speaking to Nikkei contrasted the site's first two sources, saying it's "not likely" that Apple will switch to OLED screens for every new iPhone launching next year.

A 5.8-inch OLED display has long been a rumor for the 2017 iPhone 8, and it's also expected to be a screen with an edge-to-edge design thanks to drastically reduced bezels. Recently, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted Apple will omit Touch ID from the iPhone 8, and then a report by Bloomberg said Apple is working on an "improved" facial recognition system to replace Touch ID in the tenth-anniversary iPhone.

Tag: iPhone 9

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LG Innotek to Begin Mass Producing Flexible Printed Circuit Boards With Eye on 2018’s ‘iPhone 9’

LG Innotek will begin mass production of flexible printed circuit boards in 2018, with supply chain sources stating that the supplier aims to become one of the main FPCB manufacturers for the "iPhone 9" (via The Korea Economic Daily).

The sources said that LG Innotek is nearing the completion of development on its first FPCB run, and will "likely" break ground for FPCB-focused facilities in the second half of 2017. The supplier is focusing on becoming a main FPCB component maker for Apple and LG Electronics, and would enter into the field currently dominated by Samsung and its production on FPCB components for the 2017 iPhone 8.


LG Innotek is set to kick-start the mass production of flexible printed circuit boards for smartphones from next year. With this move to become a flexible PCB supplier for Apple's iPhone, LG Innotek would pose a challenge to Samsung Electro-Mechanics which has already accumulated know-how in this area.

According to industry sources on June 25, LG Innotek has almost completed the development of flexible PCBs and would likely to break the ground for related facilities in the latter half of this year. LG Innotek aims to become a main flexible PCB supplier for Apple and LG Electronics.
With Apple's move to an OLED display in the iPhone 8 this year, the company had to source flexible PCBs because existing PCBs were incompatible with the new flexible OLED screen. Although early rumors pointed towards a display with a curved edges around the sides of the iPhone, it's now expected that the iPhone 8 will have the same slightly curved 2.5D display of the iPhone 7.

The supply chain report today is the second story in the past few weeks that has already begun looking towards next year and the so-called "iPhone 9" that is expected to launch fall 2018. In May, sources knowledgeable of Apple's and Samsung's iPhone 9 supply chain talks said that the 2018 smartphone will launch in two OLED screen sizes: 5.28-inch and 6.46-inch.

Tags: LG, iPhone 9

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‘iPhone 9’ Rumored to Come in 5.28-Inch and 6.46-Inch Display Sizes in 2018

As stories surrounding the 2017 launch of the "iPhone 8" continue to heat up, a report from The Bell this morning has already begun rumors for next year's so-called "iPhone 9." According to the report, which centers on Apple's and Samsung's supply chain deal for the 2018 iPhone, the iPhone 9 will launch in two OLED screen sizes: 5.28-inch and 6.46-inch (via The Investor).

Apple currently sells a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display in its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphone devices, respectively. Later this year, the company is expected to launch new iPhones in three sizes: two "iPhone 7s" models will keep the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display sizes, while the major new "iPhone 8" will include a 5.8-inch OLED screen.

A rendering of the iPhone 8
The report said the iPhone 9 is expected to come in two OLED models -- 5.28- and 6.46-inch display sizes. Samsung’s OLED shipment is also likely to be more than double at 180 million units.

“The two companies have recently signed a non-disclosure agreement on general conditions, including the screen size,” an industry sources was quoted as saying in the report.
The new rumor for the 2018 iPhone devices suggests a screen that would be slightly smaller than the current display of the iPhone Plus models, and then a larger option that would represent Apple's biggest smartphone display to date. Although the report doesn’t confirm the full sizes of the iPhone 9 models, the screen dimensions suggest Apple could return to a pair of device sizes similar to current generation iPhones but with full-front displays and greatly reduced bezels.

The Bell's report today doesn't mention any other rumors related to the iPhone 9, except that Samsung will be the supplier for the OLED displays and will manufacture more than 180 million units for Apple. The report did state that details such as "screen design and functions" might be adjusted down the line, considering how far away the iPhone 9 is from a launch date.

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Tag: iPhone 9
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