Will the OLED iPhone 8 Be Too Small?

Apple has apparently ordered 70 million OLED panels from Samsung for the iPhone 8, but that's not the most interesting number.

According to a report in Nikkei, the "bendable" OLED screens will be 5.2 inches in size. The information comes from a supply chain source who is apparently familiar with iPhone designs.

An iPhone 8 concept. Credit: Handy Abovergleich

(Image credit: An iPhone 8 concept. Credit: Handy Abovergleich)

"Apple has ordered 70 million units of OLED panels from Samsung this year, while Samsung is preparing to churn out as many as 95 million for Apple in 2017, in case demand exceeds expectations," David Hsieh, senior director at IHS Markit, told Nikkei.

To put those estimates in perspective, Apple sold a record 78.3 million iPhones during the holiday quarter, which includes the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, as well as older models.

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Hsieh also said it's possible that some of the 70 million handsets won't ship to customers this year, which lines up with other iPhone 8 rumors and reports suggesting that Apple may not be able to keep up with initial demand. This could spell serious delays.

But will shoppers be excited for a phone with a relatively small display? The Galaxy S8, for instance, sports a 5.8-inch screen, while the S8+ has a 6.2-inch panel. A 5.2-inch iPhone 8 might seem puny in comparison, although it would be between the refreshed 4.7-inch iPhone 7s and 5.5 inch iPhone 7s Plus that are also said to be coming this fall.

If the iPhone 8 ditches the dedicated fingerprint sensor in the front and integrated Touch ID into the screen, the OLED display might wind up seeming bigger than it really is. Samsung also wound up getting rid of a physical home key for the Galaxy S8, but it placed the fingerprint scanner on the rear of the device.

The Nikkei report says that all three new iPhone handsets this fall will be water resistant and feature wireless charging, and at least one model (we're guessing the iPhone 8) will boast a 3D sensor for facial recognition.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.