The $1,000 iPhone X didn’t work out for Apple, so expect more LCDs to come
LG Display is reportedly preparing to tender an offer to make LCD and OLED display panels for Apple to use in its 2019 iPhone models.
Sources to The Bell say that Apple’s three-model launch strategy — featuring a mix of iPhones with LCD and OLED displays — that took place in 2017 and is expected to continue this year will also carry forward to next year. This rumor counters other whispers saying that Apple would go all-OLED for 2019.
The move is thought to come from the lack of sales momentum that the OLED-toting iPhone X had against the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, both with LCDs. The iPhone X had great holiday sales, as expected, but the cyclical first quarter decay was harsher than usual. By the second quarter, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus had a combined 37 percent share of North American smartphone sales while the iPhone X dropped to 17 percent.
Bottom line, say the industry sources, is that price was a factor. The display industry is struggling to convert from producing with legacy LCD technology to OLED, leaving Samsung as the dominant source of OLED displays.
“The iPhone X sales rate was lower than expected,” said one source. “We see [iPhone demand] is more susceptible to price, so we will have to release an iPhone with LCD for the time being.”
Market analysts have forecast a 5.8-inch OLED iPhone to retail from $899, a 6.5-inch model to go for at least $999, and an affordable 6.1-incher with an LCD to start from anywhere between $550 and $800.
LG Display is currently contracted to provide up to 24 million LCD and OLED screens for the upcoming iPhones.