The iPhone 8 and its OLED screen may be hard to get your hands on when Apple unveils the new phone later this year. But if you're willing to wait a bit — say, until 2018 — every iPhone will feature an OLED panel.
That's the word out of Apple's supply chain, according to Nikkei Asia Review, which cites two industry sources as saying that all iPhones will switch to OLED displays in 2018. Currently, all iPhones use LCD panels for their displays, though that's expected to change with the arrival of the iPhone 8.
Apple's long been expected to release the iPhone 8 with an OLED screen, though the phone maker is also likely to keep LCD-based phones in its lineup this fall. In part, that will allow Apple to continue offering phones that cost about the same as the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, even as the OLED-equipped iPhone 8 is expected to cost upward of $1,000. Also, with demand for OLED panels out-stripping supply, coming out with just one model featuring an OLED screen helps Apple manage its inventory.
Even then, the iPhone 8 is expected to be in short supply this fall. But if Apple continues to offer three phones, you should be able to get an OLED screen for a more affordable price next year.
OLED panels offer richer colors, deeper blacks and better viewing angles than traditional LCDs. It's one area where Samsung's Galaxy S8 holds a clear edge over Apple's smartphones. So upgrading the phone to OLED should be a no-brainer for Apple if supplies allow the company to make the move.
And that could even affect Apple's plans for 2018, according to Nikkei Asia Review's report. OLED panels might still be in short supply then, which could impact the design of the 2018 iPhones.
Nikkei Asia Review's report isn't the first time someone's claimed Apple will go to an all-OLED lineup in 2018. Back in May, South Korea's ET News reported much the same thing, though the new report seems more definitive about Apple's plans, even if Apple remains characteristically tight-lipped about its future phones.
iPhone users who want the latest and greatest hardware are unlikely to be deterred by reports of what may be available a year from now. For the rest of us, though, who might sit out of this iPhone upgrade cycle, it sounds like Apple plans to use this year's iPhone release as a building block for future phones.